Manchester Phoenix 2 Peterborough Phantoms 5
This past weekend was anything but ‘home sweet home’ in their double header fixtures being played out of Deeside Ice Rink with two home losses in successive days.
Saturday night Manchester Phoenix playing the first of their double header at ‘home’ at Deeside, as they welcomed the side that beat them in the playoffs final last year in the Peterborough Phantoms.
Phantoms struck first in the game through James Ferrara in the 13th minute before Michael Satek responded for the hosts to level up before the break.
In the second two goals in 90 seconds by Phantoms Craig Scott and Ales Padelek gave the visitors a two goal cushion in the match with less than five minutes gone in the period.
Dan Wheldon then made it 4-1 with Tony Hand calling a timeout to regather and it looked to do trick, as Michal Satek pounce on a rebound from a Robin Kovar shot to see Phoenix get it to within two.
With the Phantoms getting into penalty trouble in the third, Phoenix couldn’t break their defences and saw Lloyd Gibson adding a 5th for the Cambridgeshire side to leave with two points.
MANCHESTER PHOENIX 1 HULL PIRATES 2
Sunday night saw the win-less Hull Pirates making their first visit to Deeside and on paper it should have been a formality, sadly hockey isn’t played on paper and saw the Phoenix guilty of not taking chances.
Manchester tested the Pirates goalie Jon Baston with some early shots, but he dealt with them easily as they weren’t really difficult those that he faced. Steve Fone then had to make a stunning save to prevent the visitors taking the lead.
Phoenix though then took the lead through Simon Furnival of the Deeside Dragons, after his shot found a way in past Baston. ChancesChances came and went for the the home side and saw them wasting a hatful of chances when in decent positions, but even then they came up against an inform Steve Baston between the pipes for the Pirates.
Hull just didn’t seem to be able to mount a decent attack in the first period, with the Phoenix holding their opponents at arm’s length. Robin Kovar went close to increasing the lead to 2-0 when the Czech forward latched onto a long pass up ice and saw his effort ping off the post.
A shock start to the second period witnessed the Hull Pirates getting back on level terms through Tommi Laine’s rebound, after Steve Fone had made the initial save from Warren Tait effort on goal. Tempers slightly frayed with Dominic Osman and James Archer at the front of the Pirates nets as both players received roughing calls for their trouble.
Third period saw Manchester constantly camped in the Pirates zone and yet again it saw the Phoenix attackers taking shots, but they were either off target or straight at the goalie. Hull had a couple of chances and were turned away by Fone, while Baston was having one of the most incredible games too in net as he seemed to repelled every shot and even used his head to stop the puck going in.
Overtime came and in fairness Phoenix should have had game well and truly sewn up by the second period, but their inability to finish would come back to haunt them. With Manchester looking the better team in the extra period, it saw the rearguard action of Hull making some key stops and thwarting the advancing Phoenix.
Pirates had grown in confidence during the game and so with a point guaranteed for the Humberside team, it was to get even better for them as Warren Tait scored from a lapse in the home side defensive zone to which the former GB man fired past Fone to stun the home fans and spark wild celebrations from the visitors.
With the Phoenix players looking dejected it saw the Pirates players celebrating a battling win and was a case of Tony Hand’s men throwing away a brilliant opportunity of a win to try and gain ground on those above them in the table.