This weekend saw Manchester Phoenix return to winning ways after a run of 5 straight losses, When they beat the Slough Jets in Berkshire Saturday night 6-2. Phoenix took a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period with Liam Chong getting the goal & Ritchie Bentham who assisted the goal turned goal scorer as he made it 2-0 for Phoenix, Before Mindy Kieras shot a Powerplay goal to beat Andrew Jaszczyk in the Phoenix nets as he took over duty between the pipes instead of Jorge El-Hage.
So as we entered the final period it turned into a goal frenzy as James Archer & Tom Duggan scored 2 early goals to make it 4-1 before Slough hit back with Darius Pliskauskas making it 4-2. But eventually the game was killed off with goals by Tom Duggan and Archer both picking up their 2nd goals of the game to make it a clean sweep of wins at The Hanger this season.
Sunday night at the Altrincham Ice dome saw Phoenix complete a 4 point weekend with a 6-3 win over the Swindon Wildcats. Phoenix kept faith with ex- Hull Stingrays netminder Andrew Jaszczyk between the pipes as they tried to make it 2 wins from 2, Also Player-Coach Tony Hand iced after he was missing in Slough with a niggly injury.
As the game started Phoenix had a early chance under a minute in when Andy McKinney had a shot saved by Thomas Murdy in goals for the Wildcats. Phoenix went on the powerplay as Steven Whitfield served 2 mins in the penalty box for TRIPPING at 2-52, Phoenix started off brightly as Duggan and McKenzie combined well on the first half of the powerplay with a couple of shots as they both had chances. The 2nd half of the penalty was spent in Phoenix zone as the top line failed to get any kind of play going at all.
McKenzie & Duggan then broke away on a 2 on 1 and when the puck came back to Duggan the puck wouldn`t stay on the stick and took a snap shot which missed the target. Phoenix were in control of the game as Murdy was by far the busier of the 2 goaltenders as he made save upon save upon save. Hand thrown a pass across ice where Joachim Flaten one timed it only for Murdy to be equal to it. The Wildcats went back on the penalty kill as Aaron Nell went for HIGH STICKS at 7:52 and as no movement from the powerplay was forthcoming Hand took a slapshot on Murdy which was saved and deflected out of play.
Ondrej Pozivil then had a chance himself but was kick saved by Murdy who was having a good game in nets for the Cats, Phoenix pressed and pressed the Swindon defenses but was finding it hard to crack the barrier of Murdy as he made 2 saves from Michal Psurny & an effort off Liam Chong to keep the scoreboard 0-0. Eventually the breached the line of defense as Tony Hand wristed one past the netminder for a 1-0 lead 11-52. James Archer could have made it 2 right from the restart as his backhand attempt went over the bar. Swindon should have scored near the end when the puck was passed infront of the net to the forward who effort was put wide.
2nd period, Tom Duggan was hit from behind into the boards by Swindon player coach Ryan Aldridge and was given a 2 min pen for BOARDING at 20-33, McKinney broke away on a 1 on 1 but Murdy denied the forward. Again the Wildcats were in penalty trouble as Matias Perkkio was called for SLASHING at 23-04 and Jan Melichar then went to the box for SLASHING as well at 24-43. The home side couldn`t make any headway on the 5 on 3 powerplay, but Psurny then went on his own by driving to the net and forcing a rebound to which his hard work paid off as he battled around the net and put it in the net for a 2-0 lead at 25-23.
Swindon instantly struck back as Paul Swindlehurst who dropped his glove and as he bent down to pick his glove up the puck fell to him after Jaszczyk couldn`t stop the rebound as the defense was nowhere to sweep up the rebounds. Then less than an minute later James Neil shot was turned in by Tomas Fojtik as the shot rebounded in off his skate. Rob Schnabel then went for INTERFERENCE at 28-58, that penalty kill didn`t last long as Perkkio was called for GOALIE INTERFERENCE at 29-39.
James Neil then took down a Wildcats player when he was nearly clear on goal but was Hooked back and so went for HOOKING timed at 30-57. Duggan had a chance as he cut in from the right wing before the Wildcats defense slipped and took the net and goalie with him as he had a little look of embarrassment on his face too. The Visitors then went on the powerplay and made short work of it as Perkkio and Aldridge combined for Nell to score on the powerplay but only just as the shot hit the post and then landed dead millimetres over the line. Wildcats then struck the cross bar as the puck pinged off the pipe work.
So as the period ended it was a 1 goal game, with Phoenix needing to concentrate as Swindon were starting to get a foothold in the game towards the end of the 2nd period.
3rd period Fojtik was called for INTERFERENCE at 41-40 and Wildcats managed to kill penalty off, However a silly penalty by Schnabel behind his own net when Hand was skating freely brought him a INTERFERENCE call which had Hand furious and chunnering under his breath as it put his team down a man for 2 minutes. Swindon of course scored off it to tie the game at 3-3 with a bullet one timer from Matias Perkkio beating Jaszczyk high past him. Ryan Aldridge and Tomas Fojtik got assists credited to them on the goal at 44-57. Jan Melichar then got called for HIGH STICKS as he got Duggan high with his stick high up on him as well as taking him hard into the board in doing it at 47-40.
Phoenix retook the lead as Tony Hand passed to Norwegian forward Joachim Flaten in the slot and his shot went high over the flashing glove save of Murdy who couldn`t believe it went in as he reflected on the goal, The 4th coming on 52:18.
Then 3 mins later Flaten again killed off the game as he added his second of the game thanks to some hard work by Hand against the boards as he held off the Wildcats defenses advances moved it along the boards to Psurny who found Flaten and his one time shot was drilled in the smallest of gaps to make it 5-3 to the home side at 55:36
Swindon pulled their goalie for the final 2 minutes of the game to try and claw back the 2 goals needed to tie and take it to overtime. Wildcats came close to pulling one back but the Phoenix defence stood firm and cleared the puck away with Pozivil passing to Flaten who took a hit to make a play towards Psurny and the Czech sniper tucked it away for an Empty net goal at 58:06 to thwart any chances Swindon had. And the last play of the game was Tomas Fojtik being called for BOARDING at 59-43.
Shots on Goal
Swindon: Thomas Murdy 49 (87.76%)
Manchester: Andrew Jaszczyk 21 (85.71%)
Swindon : 18 Manchester: 8
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Swindon: 10# Matias Perkkio MANCHESTER: 8# Joachim Flaten
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