Phoenix ‘Trample’ the the Bison

Bakrlik x3 (Hat Trick)                                                                  Sheppard
Archer x2, Psurny                                                                      

Manchester Phoenix on Sunday shown they ability to bounce back from disappointment, after they were beaten by rival Guildford Flames last weekend 4-2 and seen them slip to second place with the loss down in Surrey last weekend.  Phoenix with the extra day rest made it count on their other rival vying for the League crown in the Basingstoke Bison. Bison had been in hot form of late, winning 4 games in-a-row as well as having a hot goalie in Dean Skinns, who hadn`t conceded a goal in a 180 minutes of hockey with 3 shutouts in a row. His latest came against the Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday Night as well as the two games against Slough Jets the previous weekend, winning both 2-0.
Phoenix had an another reason to make sure they bounced back as both Bison and themselves were level on points, plus it was another team challenging and knew a victory and result elsewhere could have saw Phoenix jump back into first place.
From the opening faceoff, both teams had chances with Basingstoke going closest in the opening stages of play. Phoenix managed to avoid going behind early on in the game, as has become a recent trait by Manchester in the last few weeks or so. Manchester tested the Bison netminder, as they peppered him with shots and he stood up to them well as he his defence wasn`t fully helping him as he looked unsure of himself in the game.
 Skinns was nearly caught out at one point, when he thought he had covered up the puck with his glove in his crease facing the net, but instead the puck had been knocked behind him into play and if not for his team mate, then it would have been a embarrassing moment for the goalie.
Ben Wood was the first player in the game to visit the penalty box, when he was adjudged to have to have Interfered with a Basingstoke player around the Bison crease, when it looked like the Bison player had lost his footing near the net and with Wood a couple of feet away from the Bison forward, Referee John Liptrott called the penalty upon the Macclesfield born Wood at 8:41.
Tony Hand then had a great chance to give the Home side the lead when play was all crowded around the visitors net. So with Hand free at the back post, instead of putting it in a predominantly empty net he chose to pass to Michal Psurny who was marked by 2 Bison players at the front of the net and a huge groan from the Home side greeted the pass, when a shot was the only real option.
The game was end to end and it was the home side who broke the deadlock, ending the run of Basingstoke keeping a clean sheet in a game, when a Frankie Bakrlik rocket from outside the Bison right faceoff circle made it 1-0 at 13:33 and with a  Czech flavour too it too. As fellow Czech Republic natives Robin Kovar and Rob Schnabel helped out on the goal Bakrlik to see Phoenix take the lead.
Three minutes later Phoenix doubled their lead with Bakrlik doubled his goal tally as well, when the Czech sniper tucked home a rebound to beat Skinns and give the home side complete control of the match, where they had much of the period with
Joe Graham and Jack Watkins assisting on the goal at 17:43, as Bakrlik looks to be back in form. Phoenix went into break holding a two goal advantage and looked good for the lead too after twenty minutes of play.
Phoenix increased their lead a minute and twenty seconds into the Second period of the game, when James Archer one timed his shot past Dean Skinns for a 3-0 lead at 21:20, which saw Rob Schnabel leading the rush for Tony Hand, who then fed the Sheffield-born forward with a pass to the far side and he made no mistake at all.
Player coach of the Manchester Phoenix Tony Hand then sat for two minutes in the penalty box, as he called for Hooking down a Bison player at 28:11 and put the the travelling Bison a power play.
Manchester put on a good penalty kill to stop the Herd from scoring as in the previous meeting it was power play goals that cost them, but the Phoenix side looked to be in no mood for letting up and they pressured the Bison power play and had a couple of sniffs in attack, with former Bison player Liam Chong having an effort on Skinns which was easily dealt with by the Basingstoke netminder.
For some reason the Bison lacked any real threat on Steve Fone for a majority of the game. Their game plan seemed to consist for a majority of it trying to score wrap around type goals when trying to make him move around or another technique would have better suited.
But you have to give Phoenix defence credit too, as they kept the top British goal scorer at the time quiet in Joe Miller, along with Doug Sheppard and Joe Rand as the forwards for the Bison who are normally the surge of the Manchester side were anonymous on the ice.
Phoenix then spent another two minutes on the penalty kill, when this time Richard Bentham tried to stop the attack of the Herd and instead earned himself a penalty for Hooking back the visiting player at 34:03.
History shows Manchester have always seemed to play better a man down than with the extra man advantage over the years and this was shown again, when Frankie Bakrlik knocked the puck to the boards and skated onto it. The Czech forward then spotted the movement of James Archer free and so dished it over to him and Archer stick handled his way to goal, with the British forward outsmarting Skinns and put home before the net came off as Zach Sullivan minus stick pushed Archer hoping to stop him from scoring but couldn`t as he made it 4-0 at 36:01 with Ben Wood grabbing an assist too.
Things got worse for the Bison when it became 5-0 after Bakrlik completed his hat-trick, when James Neil dash down the Phoenix left side saw and seen him lay off to Andy McKinney, whose effort was turned away but sadly for the visitors the rebound came out to the Czech sniper and he poached his third of the night and his 23rd of the season at 39:28 wand made the contest all but over now.
Basingstoke was looking like a side out of ideas and a very different from one from the one that had kept clean sheets and been in red hot form of late.
With the final few seconds elapsing in the period, James Archer and Nicky Chinn were battling against the boards when Joe Greener then skate towards the two and leapt with a elbow connecting on Archer, which then led to Bentham and Bakrlik skating over and not taking kindly to the elbow from Greener as both sides then had pushing and shoving match.
Before the third period started, we saw a few penalties dished out to players over the end of the 2nd aggro. James Archer picking up two minutes for Holding the Stick  for the home side and on the Basingstoke Bison, Nicky Chinn got a 2 minute call for Hooking and Joe Greener got called for Elbowing all timed at 40:00.
In the third not much happened really with Tony Hand decided to sit the period out and coach from the bench, both sides had equal chances which included a fantastic save by Steve Fone. With the netminder flinging him across goal to deny a certain goal for the Bison, while keeping his clean sheet going in the meantime.

Michal Psurny then got his name on the score sheet for the home side, with the other Czech forward who is scoring well this year. Psurny was put through on goal and his effort was stopped by Skinns in the Bison net initially, however he had ended being behind his own line as he tried to pass it off in his glove and then realised it was in his pads.
 The Linesman had a word with the referee and he then gave the goal without the light flash from the goal judge, with the telling fact he was in the back of his goals and it could only have been a goal, as only his head was sticking out of the nets at the time.
Basingstoke remonstrated with the officials and had started to go mad at the goal judge, till he signalled he never put the light on for the goal and told the Bison player through mime it was the officials that gave it, which didn`t sit well with the travelling side at all.

BISON celebrate goal
Bison did break Steve Fone shutout cruelly though with 1:04 left in the game, when a pass by Joe Miller saw Player-coach of the Hampshire outfit Doug Sheppard score at 58:56, it gave them something to cheer as well as the few hardcore fans who came up to support them on a otherwise bad night at the office for the away side.


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“Six-y” football sees City thrash sorry Spurs

Pic from: whoateallthepies


Jesus Navas 1′, 90′ 
Sandro (OG) 34′
Aguero 41′, 50′
Negredo 55′ 

Manchester City put on another clinic of fantastic football at the Etihad Stadium as the Blues torn Tottenham Hotspur apart, winning 6-0 in front of their home fans.
It`s been levelled at Manchester City this season, that they have become complacent side away from home and that with all the talent they have at their disposal, that they have should be faring better away from home.
Their home form at the Etihad Stadium however, has been dominating no doubt about that and never more so was that evident than victory on Sunday, with the home side showing that in abundance with the thrashing of the North London side.
 City looked to bounce back from their last game, when the Blues suffered a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland, up on Wearside before the International break. Tottenham themselves were looking to get back to winning ways too, as they were defeated by the same score by Newcastle United at White Hart Lane, so both sides were hoping to get back to winning ways.
City had the best of the head to head in recent times, with the Blues winning 4 of the last 5 games against Spurs with and in this match they looked like they improve on that stat, as it took just 13 seconds into the match for the opening goal.
Navas scores in 13 seconds: pic:DailyMirror
Hugo Lloris terrible kick out from a back pass after 6 seconds, saw the French International keeper clearance go straight to the feet of Sergio Aguero whose then ran towards the area and strike on goal from outside the area, which  palmed the ball away by the Tottenham goalkeeper to the left to Spurs penalty area.
City`s Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas, then put a ball with pace over the despairing jump of Lloris and gave the home side a cracking start to the game as they were up 1-0 up in no time. 
Spurs game plan was thrown out the window by going behind so early, but the away team nearly responded minutes later, when a cross by Kyle Walker saw both Martin Demichelis and Keeper Costel Pantillimon miss the ball completely as it  took a bounce just before them as it deceived the pait.
From then, the ball fell to Lamela in the area and his shot was diverted away from Demichelis, with City all at sea from a ball that should have been dealt with easily.
Spurs enjoyed a good sustained pressure for a few minutes, as they had possession but wasn`t making it count for much, City or mainly Aguero, should have done better with a move he helped to create.
The Argentine striker ran towards the visitors defense as he played a lovely move with striker partner Alvaro Negredo, with the Spanish striker dinking a little ball back to Aguero and seen the  little striker trying to be clever and lift it over the goalkeeper , but saw Lloris deny him when it looked easier to have just placed or rifle it in.
Paulinho then wanted a penalty for the Away side, when he felt Yaya Toure touched his leg in the area and went down, but it was very minimal contact if any on the Tottenham man at all.
 Toure wasn`t in the game at all in the first half hour of play, as he looked a lost player out on the pitch as he wasn`t the usual energetic type player, that you expect from him.
City then had a penalty claim turned down by Howard Webb, when Samir Nasri went to pull the trigger in the area and Brazilian defender for Spurs Sandro, slid in well with a challenge that managed to stop the ex-Arsenal man from scoring.
Moments later, Sandro then seemed to crouch down for some unknown reason and wasn`t till later, that it due to the Spurs man throwing up on the pitch as he wasn`t feel well.
Not long after he was feeling sick again, as this time City made it 2-0 after another kick by Lloris started the move off, with the Keepers clearance headed back by Fernandinho on the half way line and to the path of Samir Nasri.
Nasri then put ball into the area for Aguero, who controlled it and saw his shot saved by the Spurs goalkeeper only to fall to Negredo, whose shot was on target but came back off Sandro legs, when Kaboul had blocked the initial shot only to find the way in the back of the opposition`s net.
Aguero makes it 3-0  pic: theguardian
In the 40th minute, Manchester City made it 3-0 when some more good build up play by the home side, saw Pablo Zabaleta set Navas off down the Spurs left and a Navas cross found Sergio Aguero, who just directed it goal wards and gave the home side a 3-0 lead to take into the half time break.
Second half saw former Blues striker Emannuel Adebayor come on as substitute for the away side, as they looked to try and find a way back in the game.
Negredo help`s City on their 2nd goal Pic: theguardian
Yaya Toure finally turned up in the second half for the home side and it was him who helped engineer the 4th goal for the Blues, when a move between him, Fernandinho and a nice little neat pass by Nasri, saw the Ivorian gallop forward onto the ball and had Kyle Walker trying to catch him. But he managed to hold off the challenge and put a ball across for Aguero who put home for a 4-0 lead and leave Tottenham in disarray as they were being massacred by the Manuel Pellegrini side and saw a few fans heading to the exits in the Spurs end.
Samir Nasri nearly made it five for the home side, when the Frenchman was cutting the Spurs players to shreds in his own half, managed to play a ball to Aguero and when he got the ball to him, he tried to play a cross to back post with the outside of right foot, but instead got it horribly wrong and saw it bounce against the bar instead for a near fluke goal.
They did make it 5-0  though in the 54th minute, when a through ball by Fernandinho cut right through the spine of the Tottenham side and saw Negredo take a little touch before he smashed it past Lloris for a great strike by the Spanish forward. 
Mousa Dembele then had a rare effort for the North Londoner`s, as they lacked any kind of attacking threat towards Pantillimon.
Toure came close to scoring, after a quick pass by Jesus Navas saw the Ivorian run onto the ball and shoot over the a bar.
Adebayor then had a chance to give Spurs a consolation goal as he tried to side foot past the City keeper, but Pantillion stood up to the task and saw the tall keeper block his effort.
Fernandinho then missed a great chance to open his scoring account for City, when a ball fizzed in by Negredo came to the Brazilian midfielder unmarked and he managed to somehow mis-kick against his other leg and watch it go out for a goal kick.

Time was running down and not soon enough for Andre Villas-Boas side and his players, but as they still had to suffer one more painful goal by the home side.  When a James Milner long ball up field, saw Jesus Navas run on the pass saw him out run Vertonghen, to coolly put past Lloris and finished what he help start, by scoring the 6th goal and equal to the amount of goals Spurs had conceded away from home in the season so far.    

Bakrlik helps Phoenix edge over Swindon


Psurny, Archer, Bakrlik                                                                                           Hoog, Symonds


Saturday Night saw an below par Manchester Phoenix grind out a victory at the Altrincham Ice Dome as they beat the Swindon Wildcats 3-2, in a game that saw that saw them edge the Wiltshire outfit.
Manchester came into the match sat on top of the EPL (English Premier League) table with both teams tied on the same amount of points with the reigning champions Guildford Flames, who picked up a win on the road at Telford 6-3 while the Phoenix were playing the opening period of their game.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, Phoenix found themselves one down under a minute of play when the Swindon Wildcats first shot in the game saw it beat Steve Fone at near post after just 31 seconds into the match, thanks to a blaster from Swedish defenseman Jonas Hoog . The Swindon man skated down the Phoenix right before firing shot just inside the face-off circle and it gave the Wildcats the early 1-0 lead, with Swindon Captain Shane Moore assisting on it.

Swindon couldn`t believe their luck, as exactly a minute after their first goal they then doubled their lead when Alex Symonds shot got deflected by Ben Wood`s stick and beat Steve Fone in the Phoenix nets at 1:31, to make it a 2-0 score to the Wiltshire club as Sam Smith helped on the goal.

Manchester were extremely poor for the opening period while Swindon played a good road game, as the Wildcats had a short bench after they released Finnish forward Juha Silvander after hewas let go by Ryan Aldridge who felt he wasn`t contributing enough to the side after posting only 3 goals and 8 assists in 16 games. 
Swindon were the better side in the first period as they frustrated the home side with their play, plus it didn`t help too when the Phoenix players deciding to check their own players instead of the red shirts of Swindon. It was a horror show by the home side in the opening 10 minutes of play, as they just couldn`t get to grips with the game what so ever. Passing by the Phoenix either saw them go astray or going to the sticks of the opposition, as they just weren`t at the races at all. 
Manchester started to show some improvement mid way through the period, when they started to take some meaningful shots on Wildcats netminder Stevie Lyle who wasn`t exactly having a solid game in the Swindon nets, as he was looking unsure and not comfortable at all.
At the other end Fone wasn`t having his most memorable game for the Phoenix, as the two early strikes by the visitors will be two he will most definitely want back as he tried to shrug off the two early blows, he did slowly regain his confidence as the game went on for the home side.
Phoenix were coming into the game more and more, yet they weren`t looking that threatening compared to past games so far at the Ice Dome this season. 
Swindon netminder Stevie Lyle then picked up a Delay of game call at 2:34 when he shot it out of play and Referee John Liptrott pointed to the penalty box to which a team mate sat out his penalty. 
Manchester did respond as at 6:46 in the period, a solid build play up by the Phoenix forwards saw them pull it back to a one goal game when James Archer pass to Player-Coach Tony Hand was then passed towards forward Michal Psurny and the man from the Czech Republic, then tapped it home with Lyle and ‘Cats defense leaving the back post open and went into the break with the Wildcats taking a 2-1 lead.
Second period of play, saw Manchester up it a bit in the attacking ranks as they started to take more threatening shots on the Swindon nets with  Lyle  making stops from the forwards of the home side to preserve the Wildcats lead.
 James Archer then picked up a Hooking penalty at 24:59, which then gave Swindon a chance to extend their lead on the powerplay, Phoenix killed it off successfully and then minutes after sitting a penalty, James Archer popped up and scored for a 2-2 game with Joe Graham and Michal Psurny grabbing assists on the goal at 29:40. 

The game was more end to end now with both sides having chances as the puck seemed to be on like a see saw, due the amount of times it was going end to end. Swindon thought they had retook the lead again in the period, when an attack by the Wildcats saw Henrik Sandvik trip up Joe Graham who then slid in his own goals, knocking the net off in the processt. Sandvik then ended up too in the goals with the puck next to him with arms stretched up in celebrations, only to see the ref signal no goal as the nets were dislodged before the puck went in and despite a couple of remonstrating Wildcats to the referee, the goal remained washed out.

Jonas Hoog then found himself one on one with Fone and the Manchester goaltender denied the Swedish forward with a golden chance to give Swindon the lead again, with the Phoenix defence caught napping at the back.
Phoenix not for the first time had a good deal of constant pressure and puck retention in the ‘Cats zone, which saw Lyle thwart the goal attempts of Manchester as both netminders kept it a tied game.
Wildcats Captain Shane Moore, then headed to the box at 38:27 after he was caught for Cross checking Tony Hand at the front of his own nets and gave Manchester a powerplay to which they didn`t produce anything of note. Neither side managed to score in the remaining few minutes of the second and saw both sides head into the final period level 2-2, with Andy McKinney picking up two minutes for Tripping at 40:00 just before the end.
In the final stanza, Manchester paced themselves as Swindon`s short bench tired and Manchester looked to try and capitalise whenever they could. The home side had a long spell of possession as they camped in the visitor’s zone for at least a minute and tired the opponents out.
Swindon survived the home side attacks as Phoenix were looking the better side now, Swindon just couldn`t avoid keeping the puck of out their net in the period as the Phoenix scored at 51:49 through Frankie Bakrlik. The goal came about`s after Robin Kovar kicked a pass out to Luke Boothroyd, whose pass saw him aim towards Bakrlik at the front of the net and the puck bounced in off  the back of Bakrlik skate.

The Swindon player marking Bakrlik was more bothered pushing and shoving the Czech forward than the puck and saw him help Phoenix out as his shove saw Bakrlik move a bit quicker across and catch the back of his skate beautiful to deflect past Lyle and see it trickle in for a 3-2 lead for Manchester.

Swindon couldn`t find the goal to tie the game late on as Phoenix held on for the victory and remain top of the table against joint top side the Guildford Flames, who they played down in Surrey Sunday evening. 

* Phoenix went down 4-2 in the clash between the top two in Guildford, as it was another Former Phoenix forward to haunt the Manchester club. Last time round it was Tom Duggan breaking Phoenix hearts, this time it was Marcus Kristoffersson who scored 2 late goals for the home side as they opened up a 2 point gap at the top of the EPL TABLE. Phoenix forwards James Archer and a late strike by Frantisek Bakrlik were on target for Manchester as they look to bounce back next weekend in their solitary game against 3rd placed Basingstoke Bison.

English Premier League GP W OTW OTL L GF GA Pts
1 Guildford Flames 21 16 0 2 3 101 64 34
2 Manchester Phoenix 20 13 2 2 3 97 50 32
3 Basingstoke Bison 20 12 2 2 4 79 54 30
4 Milton Keynes Lightning 18 10 2 0 6 71 60 24
5 Slough Jets 20 8 1 1 10 72 77 19
6 Swindon Wildcats 20 5 3 1 11 58 75 17
7 Sheffield Steeldogs 21 6 2 1 12 66 85 17
8 Peterborough Phantoms 19 6 0 3 10 62 83 15
9 Bracknell Bees 20 4 2 3 11 56 83 15
10 Telford Tigers 19 4 1 0 14 53 84 10

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Phoenix goal blitz sees them Muzzle the ‘Dogs


  6  –  4 

 A slightly bizarre game saw the Manchester Phoenix  overcome the Sheffield Steeldogs 6-4 at the  Altrincham Ice dome, after a rampant second period  performance by the home side, saw the Phoenix  score 4 unanswered goals in the space of 2:08 to set  the Phoenix on their way to victory. Phoenix had  found themselves trailing 2-1, before the a crazy  period of Phoenix goals caused them to turn the  game on it`s proverbial head well and truly, as they  then led 6-2 after the second period break.

Andre Payette wearing a Phoenix shirt

Manchester and Sheffield games are always competitive and physical encounters and this match proved to be no different either. Both sides came into the this ‘Roses derby’ having picked up wins the night before, with the Steeldogs shutting out the MK Lightning 3-0 at home and the Phoenix winning on their travels ,3-2 down at the Hangar in Slough after an overtime winner by ex Slough Jets man Frantisek Bakrlik netting the game winning goal. 
In the pre-match warm up Sheffield Steeldogs Player-Coach Andre Payette wore a Manchester Phoenix Children In Need charity shirt as part of a bet he had with Phoenix TV & podcast contributer Jim “Tambo” Piper, the bet being which ever side lost the previous encounter between the two sides then the other would wear a shirt of their rival club. As it was Phoenix had won the match in Sheffield, meaning that Payette had to wear to a Phoenix shirt in warm up and the Sheffield coach was true to his word and once again donned a Manchester Phoenix shirt. 

The game started off fast paced and with the first attack in the game for the Steeldogs, saw Andy Hirst try a one-time shot that struck the post and then came out sharply to Lubomir Kohorn and the Sheffield forward didn`t need a second invite, as he beat Steve Fone with a quick tap home for a 1-0 lead to the White Rose county after just 44 seconds in the match gone.
The response was almost instant by the home side, when Richard Bentham and James Archer played the puck round the boards around the Sheffield end, where Archer then passed the puck to the front of net where there was loads of space for the Czech forward Michal Psurny to skate freely into and blast home past Dalibor Sedlar in the Steeldogs nets for a 1-1 game at 1:10.
 Frankie Bakrlik then created a chance for himself from his own end, when he dispossessed the puck just outside his own zone and seen the Czech forward then skated up ice into the Sheffield zone and let rip finding nothing but the pipe, as it pinged round the rink.
Sheffield then found themselves not surprisingly on the penalty kill, as Lee Haywood was called for Tripping as he upended Richard Bentham in front of his teams nets and then tried a desperate attempt to drawn a Phoenix man into a penalty. Jacob Corson-Heron then gave him a little shove and the tall Haywood then went down like a sack of potatoes from the smallest of touches by the smallest man on the ice at the time, the move even had his team mates look at him funny too over at 7:15.
 Greg Wood followed Heywood into the box 11 seconds later, when he threw a punch at Bakrlik who was positioned in the slot , before Wood swung at him and made himself to look foolish at 7:26 as it put the Phoenix on a 5 on 3 power play. 
On the power play,  the Phoenix struck the post yet again as this time it came  from Jack Watkins as his effort struck the pipe work, Phoenix hit the pipe work a couple more times in the period as well as Psurny shooting from a tight angle with an empty net to aim at with the goalie out of position and Psurny, somehow managed to shoot it across the face of goal instead of on target. Tim Smith then took a call for tripping at 12:17 and yet another failed power play.
Sheffield retook the lead very much against the run of play, as Manchester were the most dominant side by a distance, but they just couldn`t a find a way past Sedlar or the goal frame.
Kohorn grabbed his second goal of the game when he picked the puck up outside his zone and the skated up ice before playing a little one-two with Andy Hirst with the forward as he then put the puck past Fone for a 2-1 lead at 15:16 in the game and was their second decent shot of the game as it was 2 shots and turned into 2 goals. The difference being, that the Sheffield Steeldogs were the more clinical in their finishing.
Then couple of minutes later we had some pushing and shoving between Andre Payette and Rob Schnabel, this led to Andy McKinney joining Payette at the face off, to which Payette then sent his young enforcer out on the ice in the shape of Callum Pattinson and from the following faceoff both he and McKinney dropped the gloves.
McKinney v Pattinson

McKinney launched in with some hefty right hooks and a couple of left uppercuts on Pattinson, Pattinson responded with a couple of rights of his own before McKinney fired back, with a few more right handed shots which got through and started to see Pattinson lose all of his gear as his shirt was over his head and padding was pulled off.

McKinney swapping shirts with the Sheffield man
McKinney then tried to to turned him and saw him lose his footing and fall down as he trod on the shirt of the Sheffield player during the fight, the young Phoenix forward after the excitement of winning the battle, tried to celebrate and found himself trip up embarrassingly on Pattinson shirt as both players headed to the box. Callum Pattinson made the effort to come over to McKinney and shake his hand in acknowledgment of a decent scrap between the two combatants at 15:48.
The two young Brits shake hands after a great fight

Schnabel then put a great hip check on Kohorn by the boards as he sent him crashing down to the ice from the hit, time ran down on the opening first period of play with the Steeldogs very much with their tails wagging.

In the Second period, Phoenix were then on the penalty kill at 26:36 after Richard Bentham was called for Tripping as he accidently brought the Sheffield player down behind his goals.
Steeldogs didn`t make use of the one man advantage at all as it was the Phoenix who seemed to look the far more dangerous side even though they were on the penalty kill.
Then at 27:21 the home side drew level, with a touch of good fortune about it, Manchester had tried to clear the puck up ice and as the Steeldog player started to skate back towards his own zone to retrieve the puck, the linesman had stopped it and gave the home side a decent 2 on 1 chance which saw Archer and Kovar on break away and then Kovar put home between the legs of Sedlar for 2-2 scoreline.
Manchester had 2 chances in the space of 10 seconds to take the lead, as first off Psurny had shot turned aside by Sedlar and then Psurny twisted and turned before firing a quick pass out to the front of the net for Archer, who must`ve thought he was going to score, but he saw Sedlar flash the glove high to make a great stop off the British forward and keep the score level.
However Phoenix wouldn`t have to wait much longer for the go ahead goal, as they came like buses then. First to find twine was Michal Psurny, who scored on the power play as he stopped the puck going out for a offside before cut back inside the Steeldog player, skated towards goal and unleashed a blaster stick side of Sedlar for a 3-2 lead for the home team at 37:04. The goal put them in front for the first time in the game and they never looked back.
This then sent the Manchester Phoenix goal machine into overdrive, as Frantisek Bakrlik got involved as he took hold of the puck by the sideboards down the Sheffield left, before he skated round the nets and fired high past Sedlar for a 4-2 lead and a brilliant solo move at that at 37:25.
Action shot

The home fans were still enjoying clapping the fourth goal when Ben Wood made five, the Macclesfield born Utility man had battled in his zone for the puck and started a break out with Richard Bentham, who then played a one-two themselves as Wood finished it off getting the puck back and then aiming far side for a 5-2 lead at 38:52, with Jack Watkins getting an assist on the goal.

Better was to come for the Phoenix as Frankie Bakrlik made it the joy of Six at 39:11, as the Phoenix went on the rush with every Manchester player now joining on every play as they were dismantling the Steeldogs defense with ease and they felt they would score on every attack too. Goal Six was more of a team goal really, as near enough everyone had touched the puck in the build up it, as Joe Graham started from the back passing up Ice to Andy McKinney who tipped it into the path of Baklik, the Czech forward fed Kovar who skated over the Sheffield blue line passing it back to Bakrlik and the Czech sniper doubled his scoring tally for the game as his effort went in possibly off the skate of the Steeldogs defenseman for a 6-2 score line and Manchester had all but not wrapped up the 2 points.
Third period was pretty flat really as the result was beyond doubt now, as it was how Manchester would play the 3rdand also how would Sheffield respond to going 6-2 down in the previous period.
At 43:11 Andre Payette and Joe Graham had a bit of a slash and hack at each other, before they pushed and shoved with the gloves coming off and had a mini scuffle with Payette throwing a couple of punches without connecting.  Graham had his shirt way over his head and had the linesmen jump in early as it wasn`t really much of a fight more an exchange of views, with Both players  receiving 2+2 for Roughing and Payette drawing an extra 2 minute penalty for Slashing.
Payette and Graham have a disagreement

Sheffield found Manchester sleeping at the back as Kohorn sent a pass right up the ice and saw Hirst collect it and as he went one on one with Fone, it was the Phoenix netminder making the save. 

Sheffield then pulled a goal back to make it 6-3, with Ashley Calvert putting home at the back door after a diagonal pass across the front of the net for the Sheffield man to score at 51:12.
Sheffield made it 6-4 with 9 seconds remaining in the game at 59:51, when Lloyd Gibson banked it in off Fone for a closer score to the game, as apart from the goal crazy couple of minutes in the second, it was a tight game.

Manchester remain in first place after the win, as their rivals had a mixed Sunday with the Guildford Flames winning 6-3 at home against the Swindon Wildcats and the 3rd placed Basingstoke Bison lost out to the Milton Keynes Lightning, going down 4-3 at the Coventry Skydome. Next week sees the Phoenix play at home to Swindon on the Saturday Night before making the trip to the Spectrum in Guildford as the top of the table clash sees the Phoenix and Flames battle it out to see who leads the table after Sunday.

English Premier League GP W OTW OTL L GF GA Pts
1 Manchester Phoenix 18 12 2 2 2 92 44 30
2 Guildford Flames 19 14 0 2 3 91 59 30
3 Basingstoke Bison 18 11 1 2 4 73 51 26
4 Milton Keynes Lightning 16 9 1 0 6 63 54 20
5 Slough Jets 18 7 1 1 9 66 72 17
6 Sheffield Steeldogs 19 6 2 1 10 62 77 17
7 Swindon Wildcats 18 4 3 1 10 52 70 15
8 Peterborough Phantoms 17 6 0 2 9 57 75 14
9 Bracknell Bees 18 4 2 2 10 50 75 14
10 Telford Tigers 17 3 1 0 13 48 77 8


McKinney v Pattinson:

Kovar and Schanbel keep Lightning in Czech


An entertaining encounter with goals and a line brawl late on, saw the Manchester Phoenix prevail over the Milton Keynes Lightning 4-3 at the Altrincham Ice dome on Sunday evening.

Although this may not be put in with past classics between the Phoenix and Lightning, it was certainly action packed for sure with the Phoenix completing a 4 point weekend and a draining weekend to for many reasons too.
It didn`t start all that great for the home side, as they came out a bit sluggish and slow compared to their opponents early on after their Roses victory the night before.
Phoenix was missing the services of young Defenceman James Neil, who was injured the night before in Sheffield as he was shoved head first into the boards, so the Phoenix were a defenseman down for the encounter.
Their Buckinghamshire opponents saw them play some very good hockey in the early stages of the game as they took it to the home side with the home side not full up and running and due to that the Lightning struck first, when they scored after a bit of good fortune saw the referee get in the way of the Phoenix down the right wing, giving MK possession and from it Janne Jokila jumped on the puck passed to Blaz Emersic, who put the puck to the back post for Leigh Jamieson to tap in at 3:23 and gave Nick Poole`s men the 1-0 lead.
Things got worse for the home side, when Janne Jokila turned from provider to scorer as his shot to the far side beat Steve Fone for a 2-0 lead for the MK Lightning at 8:25, with Jordan Cownie and Ben Russell assisting on the Finnish forward goal in want was a quick counter attacking play by the visitors  as they made a great start to the game and shown that Lightning does indeed strike twice.
Michal Psurny was then sent to the penalty box by the match official for Boarding at 9:55, this then put the visitors on a power play to which the home side successfully killed off.

Eventually the home side grabbed a goal to start them on the comeback trail as they got pulled a goal back,when the puck was sent round the boards by Rob Schnabel, the puck came to Tony Hand he made a quick pass to James Archer in the slot and Archer skated towards goal and shot while down on one knee to accuracy one time it through the legs of Stephen Wall for a goal and make it 2-1 at 12:57, giving them a footing back in the game.
Phoenix tied the game up with a delayed penalty goal at 15:02, as a penalty against Milton Keynes defenceman Ross Green was going to be called for holding Frankie Bakrlik by the boards. Play continued on and saw the Yorkshire duo of Phoenix Captain Luke Boothroyd and James Archer combine with Robin Kovar tipping in from Archer`s blast from the blue line to make it 2-2.
Tom Carlon then headed to the box for the visitors, as he was called for Tripping at 16:03, that was before Psurny was then adjudged to have Hooked down a Lightning player at 18:13 and so for the rest of the first period, the home side was on the penalty kill.
In the Second period of play Phoenix took control of the game without finding the goal that would put them ahead in the match, MK had glimpse of attacking threats with the closest coming from Blaz Emersic, whose blast pinged off the goalpost and went away for the visitors.

Manchester Phoenix were creating the better chances of the two sides as it seemed like the Lightning had burn`t themselves out early on in the game, when they took a two goal lead.
Ross Green was then put in the penalty box for a Tripping call at 24:42 which gave the home side a power play opportunity and a chance to try to take the lead for the first time in the game. Leigh Jamieson took one for the team, as he Hooked down Michal Psurny to give the Phoenix another power play opportunity and one they couldn`t capitalise on either.
Schnabel fists do the talking 

Play started to get a bit chippy then, with both sides looking to grab the advantage in the tight game, a penalty then came when a loose puck down by the corner in the Phoenix zone, saw Joe Graham and Janne Jokila battle for it with Jokila throwing what looked like an elbow to the head of Graham and the Phoenix man wasn`t too happy with it, as he slashed and shoved the MK player, with the Finnish forward drawing the penalty on the Manchester man for Roughing at 33:27.
The power play for the visitors didn`t last long at all, as seconds later Lukas Zatopek was called for Holding, which saw the Lightning man completely disagree with the call and so he sat in the box carrying on his arguments and included some verbal abuse towards the official and in doing so, picked up a 10 minute misconduct penalty at 33:37 as well.

The breakthrough goal came in the form of Phoenix Captain and defenceman Luke Boothroyd at 38-42, the Phoenix Captain edged his side ahead in this tight contest with Michal Psurny and Richard Bentham assisting on it. Boothroyd picked up the puck just inside the MK zone and with him waiting for the perfect shot then found the gap to light up the lamp for a 3-2 score line, giving the home side control from that point in the game.
The final period then saw an action packed 20 minutes of hockey in a riveting game indeed, with goals and fights all happening. Phoenix seemed to have finally taken the game away from the Buckinghamshire club, when Tony Hand scored to give his men a 4-2 lead at 44:55 with Joe Graham helping on the goal. That should have been it for the away side as the home side looked to have full control of the match at that point, a few minutes later we had Phoenix forward Richard Bentham put in the box for Boarding at 48:55 as John Liptrott pointed him to the penalty box.
Line Brawl break out

The last 10 minutes of play saw an explosive passage of play with the Lightning and Phoenix both having different tasks. Phoenix were trying to close out the game while M.K still in search of a third goal as they hoped to put pressure on the home side and their pressing paid off, with it resulting in a 3rd goal for the Lightning.  Stanislav Lascek seemed to back hand it towards the back post and it hit the inside of the post and went in over the line for a one goal game with the score 4-3 to the hosts, with assists going to Lukas Zatopek and Tom Carlon at 55:22,  however then it all kicked off!

At 55:44 in the game, an incident with Frankie Bakrlik getting pushed along the boards by Ross Green, saw the Czech sniper not happy at all and shoved Green behind the MK nets after the whistle was blown and then we had Lukas Zatopek skate behind Bakrlik, pushing him into the plexi glass and saw Grant McPherson get involved in as both him and Green went after the Phoenix man.
Andy McKinney for Phoenix then came over to equal the sides as he grabbed McPherson and then when Lascek got hold of McKinney all three then fell to the ice, before Ben Wood injected himself to the mayhem as he came over to pull them apart latching onto Lascek, from the other two players.

Leigh Jamieson was holding Robin Kovar while the Lightning captain was on the boards, which had Zatopek`s stick waving near Kovar head and he then proceeded to punch the Czech forward in the back of his head 4 to 6 times with no officials around to stop it, with Jamieson holding onto Kovar. 
Robert Schnabel then came over and broke the grip of Jamieson as he outmuscled him and took him down the ice, while an irate and angry Kovar got loose and saw the Phoenix man lose it as he looked for Zatopek, who wanted no part at all of his fellow countryman and it showed as he tried to go to ground avoiding the punches of Kovar, but Kovar wasn`t letting his countryman get away without some form of revenge, as he managed to throw a few punches on the MK player before he was separated.

Teams come towards end of Heated arguments

Kovar threw one more punch before heading to the box and was finger pointing towards the direction of Zatopek, while Kovar was met by an angry Stephen Wall who came over towards him and confronted Kovar who then gave him a mouthful  back too.
With the players in the box and gloves and sticks lay strewn behind the nets, we then saw a ‘David v Goliath’ match up in the form of the smaller Grant McPherson, offering to take on the huge Robert Schnabel with the Phoenix man looking to call out Jamieson, who refused flat out.

Credit where credit is due, McPherson knew he wasn`t going to come out on top in the fight, but he tried to throw a couple but couldn`t avoid the fast flying Czech fists of Schanbel, as he well and truly pasted the young Scottish forward. 
Phoenix in all the rough stuff showed they meant business as in every battle on the ice that occured, the home side came out on top in the encounter.
Tom Carlon and Andy McKinney nearly dropped the gloves when words by Jamieson to McKinney wasn`t took well and saw Carlon step in, before the officials stepped in. Rob Schanbel had disappeared to the locker room by this point after he picked up a Game Misconduct penalty with McPherson picking up 10 misconduct penalty for Inciting.

Both Czech players involved the line brawl that being Robin Kovar for Phoenix and Lukas Zatopek for the MK Lightning, both picked up 2+2 for Roughing in the brawl and a couple more penalties should have been handed out that wasn`t called  as the official had lost control it seemed of the game.
Manchester were under the cosh for the remaining two minutes of play, as Andy McKinney was called for Holding at 57:39 after Michal Psurny nearly made it 5 for the home side when only the pipework deny him a goal.

Frankie Bakrlik collected a penalty with five seconds of play in the match left, for a Cross Checking call at 59:55 and meant the Phoenix were on a 6 on 3 penalty kill as the away side pulled the goalie looking for the tying goal.
Phoenix held on for a tough and hard fought 4-3 win to complete a tough weekend for Manchester and meant a 4 point weekend as well. As it saw two wins in two tough games over the weekend, which started off with a win over bitter local rivals the Sheffield Steeldogs, as Manchester picked up a 5-3 victory at Ice Sheffield which also saw Michal Psurny score a hat trick in the game too. 
The win leaves Manchester top, but level on points with the Guildford Flames, along with the Basingstoke Bison breathing down both their collective necks too in third place.

Manchester Phoenix
Guildford Flames
Basingstoke Bison
Milton Keynes Lightning
Swindon Wildcats
Sheffield Steeldogs
Slough Jets
Peterborough Phantoms
Bracknell Bees
Telford Tigers




Line brawl from seat:

City make shredded tweet out of the Canaries


Johnson (o.g) 16′ Silva 20′ 
Nastasic 24 ‘Negredo 36′
Toure 61′ Aguero 70′ Dzeko 86′
Nastasic celebrates his 1st City goal and the home side 3rd

Manchester City gave the Canaries a good thrashing at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as they well and truly clipped their wings, winning 7-0 with five different scorers for the home side in the massacre.  It also means the Blues have scored 20 goals in 5 Premier league games at home this season, with 2 being the lowest amount of goals they have scored, it was inspired City side whose performance  was equal to that of the drubbing they handed out to their cross city rivals Manchester United last month.
City came into the game with talk yet again focusing over Joe Hart and would City boss Manuel Pellegrini had the courage to drop the England no 1 in place of Romanian keeper Costel Pantillimon for the goalkeeping jersey for the match.
Pantillimon was handed the duties between the posts for the game and in all honesty he was merely a by stander in the game ,while he watched his team mates rip apart Norwich from the opening minute of play as the home side dominated their visitors in a fairly one sided game. Norwich seemed to try and play football, however City shown them how to use the ball and create a lot of headaches as the Norwich defence was pulled them all over the place and had them at sixes and sevens in the half.
The architects in attack for the home side were mainly the midfield trio of Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and star of the show the player named “Merlin” by City fans, Spanish star David Silva. City had their first chance of the game in the 14th minute of play, when good link up play between the forwards and midfielders saw a move started off by Samir Nasri nearly finish it off too, but the Frenchman  strike hit the outside of the near post and go for a goal kick. City dominant possession and good play eventually brought them a goal, as in the 15th minute a mad scramble near the 5 yard line box saw the ball balloon over John Ruddy in the Norwich goals as the keeper had already dived one way after a blocked Aguero shot came off a couple of Yellow shirted players legs and looped in after it came off Bradley Johnson last giving the home side the 1-0 lead.
Ruddy HELL! John Ruddy watches ball loop in for City 1st
Pellegrini men doubled their lead a few minutes later, when the home side build up from the back and when Nasri took control half way in his own half he put a high through ball towards Sergio Aguero up field who controlled it well, the Argentine then took it into the penalty area before spotting the run of David Silva in the area and he unselfishly laid the ball off to Silva whose effort was struck well and hard to which Ruddy couldn`t stop it from going in for a 2-0 score line after 19 minutes.
David Silva celebrates City 2nd
City weren`t in the mood to just settle for two nil, as four minutes later they made it 3-0 game thanks to a goal by Serbian defender Matija Nastasic and a first for his club as well when he headed goal wards to the near post with a despairing dive by Ruddy who was having a bad day at the office for the visitors. Talk of John Ruddy being the rival for Joe Hart as the England number 1 on this performance was light years away as he was anything bar a rival, though if it was on errors then he would be challenging for Hart. City`s fourth of the game came after an 11 minute spell without a goal, as yet again a beautiful crafted move by the home side down the Norwich left, saw Fernandinho Silva and Toure all combine before the Ivorian midfielder chipped a ball over the back line and saw Aguero latch on to it, with him then playing a ball across the face of the Norwich goals for the ‘the Beast’ Alvaro Negredo to put home into the roof of the net for a 4-0 lead and make the game safe already after only 35 minutes.
Norwich tried to respond, as the ex Manchester United youth striker Anthony Pilkington had an effort tipped away by the Pantillimon as that was the only bit of action he faced all game.
The home side had a lot of possession and could have had more goals in the opening 45 minutes of play, as they battered the away side and even had the odd home fan shouting out the infamous outburst of Norwich City fan and board member Delia Smith in the crowd, with cries of “We need the 12th man here, Where are you?, Let`s be havin you!”. Phil Dowd mercifully put the Norwich side out of their misery in the first half at least as he blew for half time.
Negredo makes it 4-0 :Pic: BBC SPORTS
Norwich in the second half made a couple of changes after the start, with Josh Murphy and ex-Bolton Wanderers striker Johan Elmander coming on for the Norfolk side, meanwhile Manuel Pellegrini was looking ahead to Tuesday night and the Champions League game against CSKA Moscow, as he replaced Alvaro Negredo with striker Edin Dzeko for the second half of play. Norwich were gifted a couple of half chances by City Centre-back Martin Demichelis as the Argentine defender was giving the ball away sloppily on a couple of occasions and thankfully for the home side nothing came of them.
City seemed to take their foot off the gas as they weren`t as forceful in attack as in the first half. They just played the ball around like it was a training match as they didn`t have as much cutting edge as in the first 45 minutes of play, City were playing like they did against United as they just controlled the game and never gave the Canaries a sniff of the ball, as it was really men against boys stuff. 
Norwich then was gifted yet another chance by the City centre-back, as Demichelis had slid to cut out the pass, but as a result gave it right back to the opposition and from it saw Elmander trying to divert the ball at the near post and failed to find the target with no one near him at all and wasted a great chance for the away side.
The Blues had a chance to make it five when good passing play by the City players on the right wing, saw Silva nicely cut a ball to Pablo Zabaleta and as he tried to get free passed it to the feet of Nasri who then fired on goal and was stopped by Ruddy, with the ball running loose towards Aguero, who tried to dink it over the keeper only for Ruddy to spread himself big and make the forward put it side netting.

Yaya Toure scores another spectacular free kick for 5-0
Edin Dzeko then won a free kick for the home when Bradley Johnson brought him down in mid strike, which gave them a free kick from just outside the area and the Ivorian another opportunity with a set piece. From the free kick he curled it high and quickly over the Norwich wall and past Ruddy`s out stretched hand for 5-0, just before the 60th minute.

City all but killed the game off really with the 5th goal if they hadn`t already, Aguero then tried his luck with an effort from outside the area as it dipped and curled away from goals and shown City weren`t finished yet looking for goals. Pellegrini made a change with Samir Nasri getting a standing ovation from the home fans as he was replaced by James Milner and saw City hit Norwich for six soon after. Silva was switched to the left side and it instantly paid off as he evaded a strong challenge down the Norwich right before crossing into the area where Bassong for Norwich saw his clearance fall to Aguero and he smashed home in the back of the net for 6-0 after 70 minutes of play.
David Silva got a standing ovation himself and a well deserved one too as he was running the show and pulling the strings too as he was then replaced by fellow Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas. Fernandinho who had a exceptional game in his defensive midfield role himself was an unsung hero for the home side and he had a little run on goal, before he was stopped and the ball went out for a corner kick.
Dzeko and Aguero then linked up well, with the Bosnian striker flicking the ball back to Aguero and saw his shot blocked by the defender and safely to Ruddy hands, but they were playing fantastic football the blues much to the home fans joy. Martin Demichelis then kicked one down field and had Navas chase it down like a greyhound on a hare to catch it , as his shot was saved by Ruddy to deny them a goal. 
The home side won a free kick after Michael Turner tackled Aguero off the ball as the striker tried to run into space.Yaya Toure had another free kick and his blast through the wall fell to Demichelis in the penalty area and his effort was well stopped by Ruddy produced a good stop to avoid it being seven for the home side.
Norwich however couldn`t stop the juggernaut known as Manchester City scoring again, as Edin Dzeko made it 7-0 for the home side to put them in seventh heaven with Jesus Navas coming in off the right wing, he then played the ball to Dzeko inside the penalty area and Dzeko turned sharply and curled his effort low at the far post to beat Ruddy.
Dzeko celebrates City 7th  pic: IBN LIVE
The Blues nearly made it eight when a chip by Toure into the area was brought down by Dzeko, but saw his effort blocked and saw the ball fall to the in running Sergio Aguero who tried to score only for Ruddy to deny him a second goal, as the little striker was like a magnet to the ball all game.
As the rain fell down on the Etihad Stadium, the City fans were still demanding more goals by their side as with three minutes added onto the ninety, Zabaleta was given a chance to score as Aguero passed to his fellow Countryman and he just couldn`t get his shot on target. 

Pantillimon celebrates his side scoring PIC: Yahoo sports
The Full time whistle came and the Blues had hammered their guests 7-0 and shown they are tough nuts to crack at home at the Etihad stadium with the home side avenging their 3-2 loss to Norwich at the end of last season and show they are still a side to reckon with in the league.