City Women make History in the Champions League

f56f6c391c0ad57e0c9b5c8226a8d807Manchester City Women  1-0  Fortuna Hjorring74c3ad1c048c2c5ff9373e7840afed9b

(City win 2-0 on Agg)

Man-City-Women-1-0-Fortuna-Hjorring

City Women celebrate their victory to make Semi-Final : Pic: MCFCSupportersClub

This past Thursday night saw Manchester City Women making history as they booked their place in the semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League for the first ever time, thanks to a first half header by Lucy Bronze just before the break. After their 1-0 win over in Denmark last week, it saw Nick Cushing’s side controlling the tie and making sure of their place in the final four with another one goal winning margin in the second leg.

Fortuna Hjorring tried to surprise City from the opening kick off and saw them almost succeeding in their ploy, but the home side quickest got wise and stopped their attack. Jill Scott had a chance to put the hosts ahead after ten minutes gone when a move saw Carli Lloyd playing a ball forward to Jane Ross and the Scottish Striker played in the midfielder, but Maria Christiensen in the Hjorring goals managed to narrow the angle and make a good stop.

Carli Lloyd came closer to breaking the deadlock with an incredible run minutes later, with the American running through the Fortuna defence and putting her shot agonisingly past the far post by inches and what would have been a stunning solo goal for sure. Kosavare Asllani then had her header go wide for the home side, after a great cross by Lucy Bronze saw the Swedish International unable to find the target and had the home side being a bit wasteful with their chances.

Fortuna then created a couple of decent chances for themselves in a little purple patch in the game, as firstly Camille Larsen had the ties first decent effort for the Danish side, after great work running by Frederikke Thogersen saw her pulling a ball back across goal for Larsen to get on to and her shot was straight at Karen Bardsley in the City goal. 

City then were doubly lucky to get away from conceding a goal and a penalty minutes later, when a ball put into the area it saw Steph Houghton dragged over with Larsen and Bronze clashing heads in the Blues penalty area and had the ball falling to Caroline Rask whose initial shot looked to have struck the top of Houghton’s outstretched arm, but as the rebound came back to Rask she then fired wide and had the Fortuna players claims of a handball falling on deaf ears of the Russian official.

In the 41st minute of the game it had Lucy Bronze who seemingly always pops at vital times for the Blues in the last season or two, had her coming up big yet again. This time it saw the England defender guiding her header on goal from a Mel Lawley corner kick and the goalkeeper was unable to keep it out and gave City a 1-0 lead on the night and two goal aggregate advantage. With a two goal lead for the home side, it almost saw that goal taking the wind out of the visitors sails and looked to end the tie with that killer goal before half time.

Second half saw the game played out without any real threat on either goal in truth, but did have a few of those Fortuna Hjorring fans that made the trip over to Manchester trying to boost their side with some vocal support, but the game was too far gone by that point. Victory now sets up an exciting clash with Lyon of France in the Semi-Finals and will pit American star v American star, with Manchester City’s Carli Lloyd coming up against United States International team-mate Alex Morgan and will be an interesting two-legged tie for sure.

Advertisements

Bronze Magic Sends City Through to Quarter Finals

f56f6c391c0ad57e0c9b5c8226a8d807Manchester City Women 1-0 Reading FC Women  13


A late winner by Lucy Bronze saw her booking a rusty looking Manchester City side into the Quarter Finals of the Women’s F.A Cup with a 1-0 win over Reading Women at the City Academy Stadium. The game was completely dominated by the home side but they weren’t to make their possession count for the best part of the contest, in what was their first game back this season and much like last season it saw City battling till the end and finding a way to set up a quarter final clash with Bristol City Women away next weekend.

City gave debuts to their two new signings in the game, with Melissa Lawley who they signed from Birmingham City Ladies and also saw the first outing of two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and US National star Carli Lloyd pulling on the Sky Blue jersey. The home side were on top early doors and saw them putting a lot of pressure on the away side but the visitors tried to counter act it with their very physical tackling and play, which didn’t make things easy for the hosts to open them up either at all.

England starlet Georgia Stanway brought out a fine stop from Reading’s Mary Earps with the City youngster firing a shot on goal and saw the Reading keeper throwing herself to her left to palm the ball away. Mel Lawley had a stunning debut for her new side, with the Birmingham- born player working the left flank to good effect and looks to be a very good acquisition for Nick Cushing’s side this season.

City really should have gone ahead five minutes before the break- after a Lawley free kick was put into the box and saw the ball pinging about in the Reading area, before Lucy Bronze played a ball back across goal with Jill Scott heading towards goal and had Nikita Parris unable to direct her header on the net with the  at her mercy. 

Second half saw the game going in the same vein to the opening half with the home side being awarded a penalty in the 65th minute of play, after Lucy Bronze was upended in the penalty area by a Reading defender and that saw Georgia Stanway stepping up to take the spot kick and brought a good save by Earps again to keep the scores level. The Blues must have been wondering if this was going to be their day. That penalty miss proved to be the last play of the game for Stanway, as she was replaced by Scottish striker Jane Ross and she brought a bit more of physical dynamic to the City attack going forward.

Nikita Parris then spurned a glorious opportunity to give the home side the lead on 67 minutes, when Carli Lloyd set Mel Lawley away in attack it saw her putting in a lovely low cross into the Reading area and out of reach for the incoming Ross and saw the ball falling to Parris- who was unmarked at the back post and could only hit effort tamely at Earps and forced a corner at least from her shot. The home side pressed and pressed in the game, but Reading were defending bravely and were managing to stop any real clear cut attacks that City could try to muster. Kosovare Asllani then had her shot blocked in front of goal and left the home fans thinking if they were ever going to score in the contest at all.

With time ticking down in the cup tie it saw City’s Continental Cup hero Lucy Bronze coming up big yet again for the hosts, as after the visitors tried to clear their lines at the back it saw the ball coming out to Bronze just outside the penalty area and the defender volleyed the ball on target and managed to beat Earps in the Royals goal and give the Sky Blues a lead in the 83rd minute.

In truth the home side should have been out of sight with all their play, as they were the only side in the game with any attacking threat and were all over the Berkshire based side in the tie. The result was thoroughly deserved and will have City unable to fully enjoy this victory, as focus will now turn to their European quarter-final clash with Fortuna Hjorring of Denmark on Thursday night, as they play the First Leg of the Women’s Champions League tie. 


Women’s FA Cup 5th Round – City Women 1-0 Reading

Lloyd Gives City First Blood in Quarters

 

74c3ad1c048c2c5ff9373e7840afed9bFortuna Hjørring 0-1 Manchester City Womenf56f6c391c0ad57e0c9b5c8226a8d807

A Carli Lloyd header in the first half was enough to give Manchester City Women a 1-0 lead over Danish side Fortuna Hjørring in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League Quarter-Final clash on what was a bitterly cold night in Hjørring’s Bredbånd Nord Arena on Thursday.

City dominated the match with recent signings Melissa Lawley and Carli Lloyd both causing problems for the hosts, with Fortuna unable to deal with the pace and play on the opening forty-five minutes.

Lloyd shown just why she is a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year with her attacking play and it nearly brought the games opening goal in the 20th minute, when the midfielders well struck shot from close range was kept out by the Fortuna keeper in Marie Christiansen to keep it scoreless after a half dominated by the away side.

Lucy Bronze then had a effort that clipping the bar with a hooked shot on goal and had the visitors very much on the front foot. The visitors took a deserved lead in the 36th minute of the contest, after Jill Scott played a ball out wide for Jane Ross to cross into the box and Carli Lloyd was on hand to head home for 1-0 City lead.

Fortuna who found themselves for the best part of the opening half hour under the cosh from City tried their best to mount any offence against the Blues, instead they were to be snuffed out throughout by City skipper Steph Houghton leading the way alongside her defence who were brilliant all game.

Karen Bardsley had next to nothing to do in the away sides goal, with the temperature plummeting below freezing and saw the only warmth that the hearty brave souls that travelled over from Manchester was getting was their sides red-hot attack.

In the Second half it saw the home side beginning to come to life a bit more without really troubling the away side at all. Bookings became a bit more frequent as the second half with Carli Lloyd, Keira Walsh & Jill Scott all going in the referees notebook alongside five of the Hjørring players too.

Fortuna fired a couple of shots that were missing the target, but there was nothing to suggest that they would trouble their opponents with mostly long range efforts.

City did seemed to tire quicker of the two sides with this Champions League match being only their second match back so far this season, after their victory last weekend at home to Reading in the Women’s F.A Cup. Karen Bardsley was then needed as a cross come shot saw Bardsley needing to tip the ball onto the crossbar as Fortuna almost got a goal out of nothing.

Carli Loyd nearly grabbed a second for the visitors in the 61st minute of play, when Kosvare Asllani put in a low ball into the area and saw the American just dragging her shot wide of the far post and shown that City were still dangerous when given the opportunity.

Lucy Bronze almost made it two for the Blues inside the final ten minutes, when her initial shot was stopped by the keeper but rebound looped up it the air and saw the defender battling with a Hjørring defender to get their first, but Bronze was just unable to divert the ball goal on target while under pressure.

City’s defense was tested a bit late in the day, but the spine of the side in trio Steph Houghton, Abbie McManus and Keira Walsh all proved to be big reasons for the win and put in a shift along with the rest of Nick Cushing’s side on a solid win.

An away win will be taken all day by the Blues in Europe, but they could have easily added more to their scoreline but they will look to seal the tie next Thursday night at the City Academy Stadium in the Second leg.


WCL highlights – Hjorring 0-1 Manchester City Women 

 

Stars dent Storm Playoff hopes

primarystorm2015logo-1  MANCHESTER STORM  3 – 6 DUNDEE STARS   photo


Manchester Storm saw the fate of their Playoff destiny all but desert them after a 6-3 home loss to fellow playoff contenders the Dundee Stars at the Altrincham Ice Arena this past Saturday, with the Storm’s hopes of a playoff place hanging by a thread after defeat. The Stars battled back from going two-goals down to then netting three unanswered goals in both the second and third periods to all but book their place in the post season.

Storm boss Omar Pacha all week had asked for the Manchester fans to be the the sixth man out on the ice for the home side ahead this crunch game with Dundee, but with the fans making plenty noise for their side, it saw the home side needing to do their bit too. Things were going well in the first period for the home side with the Storm laying some big hits and looking motivated against a side that had bloodied their nose a fair few times this year.

Manchester led bang on the 10 minute mark through a Cody Cartier slapshot, after Omar Pacha managed to push the puck out towards the Canadian forward and he drilled it past Joe Fallon in the Dundee goals for a 1-0 lead. Cartier then doubled the lead for the home side on the powerplay minutes later, when a beautifully worked move by the Storm special teams unit all working together and saw Matt Bissonnette playing a pass across the face of goal for Cartier to cash in on and make it 2-0 at 12.47.

Early on in the second period it saw the turning point of the game, with Storm Captain Trevor Johnson and Stars Scott Brannon tangling off the play and saw the Manchester man down after the incident, before Johnson then made a beeline for Brannon and had both exchanging punches with the Manchester man getting the better of the exchanges in the altercation. Following the incident Omar Pacha talked himself into a a 10 minute misconduct call for abuse of official and saw Johnson picking up an extra two minutes for his actions.

This led to Dundee being on a powerplay and that handed the Stars a lifeline to get back in the game and saw Felix Poulin snapping a quick release shot from the blue line to cut the deficit in half at a 24.09. Manchester was becoming a bit ill-disciplined as the period went on and saw former Stars player Paul Swindlehurst serving a cross checking penalty and that allowed Kevin Bruijsten to tie the game up at two at 29.59 and make it all square again.

The home side had completely undone all their good work in the first period through a lack of ill-discipline and were also masters of their own downfall too, when a careless pass towards the penalty box saw Joey Sides jumping on a puck just as his penalty expired and the Dundee man played an nice pass across far side for Bruijsten to fire one time into the cage for a 3-2 Stars lead.

In the third it saw Cody Cartier completing his hat trick with a nice wrist shot through traffic that beat Fallon over the shoulder and saw the caps hitting the ice for the second week running at the Altrincham Ice Arena, as the Storm tied it up at 3-3.

With just under seven minutes to play it saw Felix Poulin then firing in from the point to reestablish the lead for the visiting side and that was the back breaker in the game as the Stars looked comfortable from that point onwards.

Two late empty net goals by Justin Faryna and a third for Kevin Bruijsten saw him claiming a hat trick and finishing off the Storm with nine-seconds remaining and that was game set and match for Dundee. 

Manchester now face the daunting task of travelling to the N.I.C in Nottingham on Wednesday night and knowing that nothing less than victory will do for the Altrincham based side, or it i will season over. History suggests it is a tough task, with the Storm having yet to win in Nottingham in their near two-year existence.


MATCH STATS

Manchester: Cody Cartier 3+0, Omar Pacha 0+1, Dallas Ehrhardt 0+1, Darian Dziurzynski 0+1, Paul Phillips 0+1, Matt Bissonnette 0+1

Dundee:  Kevin Bruijsten 3+1, Felix Poulin 2+0, Justin Faryna 1+1, Vinny Scarsella 0+3, Cale Tanaka 0+2, Joey Sides 0+2, Brett Switzer 0+1, Mikael Lidhammar 0+1


Penalties / Powerplays

Manchester: PIMS 31       PP 1-4

Dundee:         PIMS 17      PP 3-6


Netminders

Manchester: Mike Clemente – 33 shots 29 saves (87.9%)  

Dundee: Joe Fallon 29 shots saves 26 (89.7%)


 

Deadly Darian bags a Hat trick in Storm win

primarystorm2015logo-1 Manchester Storm  4-0  Edinburgh Capitalsedinburgh_capitals_logo-svg

Manchester Storm got their playoff hopes back on track with a shutout of the Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday night with a Darian Dziurzynski hat trick helping the Storm in snapping their eight-game losing streak to record a 4-0 victory at the Altrincham Ice Arena.

With losing becoming a tough habit to break for the Storm in recent weeks, it has saw them slipping down the standings and led them falling outside the playoffs places with their recent poor results but this win moved them back into the final playoff spot as the season reaches it climax.

In the previous meeting between the two a couple of weeks ago, it saw on that occasion the Edinburgh side coming out top with a big road win. However this time around the home side turned the tables and came out of the traps quickly and immediately put the visitors on the back foot.

Darian Dziurzynski made it 1-0 to the Storm after 8.14 into the game, with the Canadian netting his first of the period with a rebound as a tip at the front of the net by Cody Cartier saw Travis Fullerton stopping the initial shot but was powerless to stop Dziurzynski rebound.

Manchester hardly allowed the Capitals to generate anything in the way of chances throughout the contest, but when they did it saw Mike Clemente equal to them and thwarted their attempts. Dziurzynski then doubled both the lead and his goal tally for the game, as the puck went in off the Storm man to make it 2-0 at 13.04.

A scoreless second period saw the visitors having the better of the play but without really troubling the netminder in the process. Play in the third saw the home side finding their goal scoring touch again with Mark Heatley slotting past Fullerton to extend their lead for a 3-0 scoreline at 43.49.

With the contest effectively over after the Heatley effort, it saw the last word going to Darian Dziurzynski as the forward completed his hat trick at 58.44 to move his side back into the playoff places and hopefully kick-on from this point.


Match Stats

Manchester : Darian Dziurzynski 3+0, Mark Heatley 1+0, Cody Cartier 0+2, Connor Varley 0+2, Paul Swindlehurst 0+1, Mike Clemente 0+1

Edinburgh: N/A


Penalties / Powerplay

Manchester :   4 PIMS – PP 0-2

Edinburgh    :  6 PIMS – PP 0-3


Netminders

Manchester :  Mike Clemente  29 shots 29 saves

Edinburgh   :  Travis Fullerton  31 shots 27 saves

Devils inflict more misery on the Storm

primarystorm2015logo-1   Manchester Storm   2-4   Cardiff Devils  download

This past weekend saw the Cardiff Devils taking a step closer to their first League title in 20 years with a 4-2 victory over the Manchester Storm at the Altrincham Ice Arena. Storm came into the game on the back of five straight defeats and was hoping to rekindle their playoffs which of late have been diminishing by week since the turn of the year. 

Manchester got off to a flyer though in the opening minutes of the contest, with the hosts exerting early pressure on the Devils and led to Canadian forward Darian Dziurzynski making a nice move to put the Storm one up after 2.54 gone in the game. The title-chasing Devils side looked to be rattled early on and saw the hosts on the front foot and if not for Ben Bowns in the Cardiff goals then the home side could have been out if sight.

Manchester were on top for the majority of the first period and saw them taking a deserved lead into the first intermission. Second period saw the Welsh side getting more than a foot in the door as play went on, with the Devils being the better of the sides as the period went on. Mike Clemente needed to make a string of brilliant saves and having his side on defensive duties to stop the onslaught that the Devils were posing on their hosts.

With the home side coming under the cosh by the away side, it saw the visitors finally getting on the scoreboard through player-coach Andrew Lord, as he made it 1-1 at 33.57. Manchester nearly scored a well worked goal when they caught out the away side, but an unbelievable save by Bowns kept the home side out and brought a standing ovation from the visiting fans in the rink. In the last minute of play it saw Patrick Asselin putting Cardiff in front at 39.24 and saw the home side once again conceding a late goal in the period.

With the second period drawing to a close, it saw Storm’s Eric Neilson earning himself an extended stay in the penalty box with a 10 minute Misconduct call against him after the forward tried to draw Andrew Lord into dropping his gloves and his over exuberance saw the referee penalising Neilson.

Play in the third saw the Devils upping their game a lot more and moving up the gears too, as they caused the home side problems and showed on the stats with the visitors out-shooting their opponents 12-4 in the period. Cardiff then moved 3-1 ahead at 52.46 thanks to a break up ice with Denny Kearney and Sean Bentivoglio, with Bentivoglio turning the puck home for a two goal game.

Minutes later Mark Heatley replied on the powerplay for the Storm to make it 3-2 and get the hosts back in the game at 55.48, that was till Joey Haddad made sure of the points with an empty net goal after a communication failure between the Manchester bench and netminder saw Haddad firing home for a 4-2 score and condemn the home side to their sixth loss in a row.


Match Stats

Manchester: Darian Dziurzynski 1+0, Mark Heatley 1+0, Mario Trubucco 0+1, Cody Cartier 0+1, Paul Phillips 0+1

Cardiff: Patrick Asselin 1+0, Joey Haddad 1+0, Andrew Lord 1+0, Sean Bentivoglio 1+0, Layne Ulmer 0+2, Andrew Hotham 0+2, Gleason Fournier 0+1, Mark Richardson 0+1, Matty Myers 0+1


Penalties/ PP:

Manchester : 18 PIMS  – PP 1-3  

Cardiff:  8 PIMS  – PP  0-3 


Netminders:

Manchester: Mike Clemente 35 shots  32 saves (91.4%)

Cardiff: Ben Bowns 23 shots 21 saves (91.3%)


 

Aguero double sends City into Quarter-final

  manchester_city_2016   Manchester City   5 – 1  Huddersfield Townphoto

Two goals by Argentinian forward Sergio Aguero helped Manchester City book a Quarterfinal meeting with Middlesbrough a week on Saturday. as the Blues beat a spirited Huddersfield Town side 5-1 in their FA Cup Fifth-Round replay at the Etihad Stadium.

It was 10 days ago that saw the two sides cancelling each other out at the John Smith’s Stadium in West Yorkshire, where the Championship form-side held out their stronger opposition to a replay in Manchester. Pep Guardiola had saw his side coming into some form of late with City unbeaten in 7 games since their thrashing at Everton in mid January.

On paper it seemed like the Premier League side would fare better being home against lower league opposition, but City have struggled against Championship sides since the club was taken over back in 2008, with the Blues being dumped out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition at home three times. So with their stalemate in Huddersfield proving to give Pep a welcome to the FA Cup, the City boss knew he couldn’t afford to his side be embarrassed on live tv and needed them break Joe Wagner’s stubborn side.

It was the home side that started on the front foot and nearly saw Leroy Sane finding the net, when his shot with the outside of the foot curled past Danny Ward in the Huddersfield goal, but saw his effort hitting the inside of the far post and the fallen Fernandinho was unable to stretch out and get a kick on the rebound. Huddersfield were not overawed at all by the occasion and saw the visitors taking a shock 7th minute lead through of all people Harry Bunn, after the player was a former youth product at City’s Academy growing up and also started his career out with the Blues too.

js113309147
Harry Bunn giving Huddersfield Town the lead    Pic: The Examiner

The goal itself was a well worked piece of attacking play by the ‘Terriers’ and was in very much in keeping with how the City bosses teams play, with some nice quick counter attacking in the lead up to the goal and after a deft touch by Phil Billing helped draw Pablo Zabaleta over towards the Town man, it saw Bunn having time to control the ball and then drilling it through the legs of Claudio Bravo and in truth the keeper should have done better. The aftermath saw pandemonium coming from the away end with travelling Huddersfield Town fans revelling in bloodying City’s nose early doors and perhap on the verge of an upset.

For some time after the goal went in, the home side seemed to be in shock and saw passes going astray, while players were running into trouble and their general all round game was pretty poor too. Players like Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling were finding things difficult and caused frustration amongst the home fans as the home side was finding themselves unable to get to grips with the contest for the opening twenty minutes of play.

Huddersfield got away with a couple of clear handball decisions that wasn’t given, but with the referee unmoved to the claims by the home side it saw City getting more into the game a bit and they soon found themselves getting more joy going forwards. City equalised on the half hour mark through midfielder Leroy Sane, when a ball by Kevin De Bruyne saw a Town defender left his hand up in the penalty area and had the ball just brushing it inside the area but with no penalty given it saw the ball coming to Sterling out wide and with two defender on him did a couple of step-overs before slipping ball across the face of goal for Sane to tap in for the Blues equaliser.

City was awarded a penalty five minutes later, when Hudderfield’s Slovenian defender Jon Gorenc Stankovic was adjudged to have brought down Nicolas Otamendi in the box and that gave Sergio Aguero the opportunity to put City 2-1 up from the penalty spot and the striker duly did so and you felt a sense of relief around the ground from the home side of things that they had come through the worse part.

js113309161
Pablo Zabaleta goes sliding in with a challenge    Pic: The Telegraph

Aguero was a big contributor to the hosts third goal of the game, when the striker saw his shot stopped by the keeper but the forward was quick to chase down the rebound and play a pass across goal for his fellow countryman in Pablo Zabaleta to poke home and put the hosts 3-1 to the good. The City fans were delighted to have have turned the game around and even became a bit more confident now with chants towards their opposing fans of ‘We want ten’ around the ground, a reference to a previous meeting back the sides in 1987 when the Blues thrashed Huddersfield 10-1 that day at their former ground at Maine Road.

Huddersfield almost made it 3-2 before the half time break, when another beautiful pass by Billing caught out the home side once again and gave Jack Payne the chance to score a second for the Championship side, but this time Bravo managed to pull of a save and drew a loud ironic cheer from his home fans after the keeper has been under the spotlight for some high profile blunders this season.

_94900653_celebrate_rex
Sergio Aguero & Leroy Sane celebrate City 2nd goal. Pic: BBC Sport

 

Second half had the away side coming close again, this time from a short corner and had Rajiv Van La Parra putting a ball into the box for Joe Lolley who was first to react but was unable to guide his header on target and spurned a great chance.

The hosts had to wait till the 73rd minute of the game to see them increasing their lead even further, after Aguero grabbed his second of the game to make it 4-1 with a lovely flowing team move that was right out of the Guardiola playbook. Firstly Fernandinho had nipped the ball away from the oncoming defender into the path of Zabeleta, whose little pass out wide for Sterling saw the England man crossing into the area and have Sergio Aguero making a run to the near post to put in and all but book City’s place in the last 8 of the competition this year.

With seconds remaining it saw Kelechi Iheanacho adding a fifth for the home side after the youngster got a small touch to see it ending up in the back of the Town net and have City now moving on to face Middlesbrough in the next round.

In their previous four FA Cup encounters down the years, it has saw the Blues coming out on the winning side just once with their last victory coming in 2015. However the last team to beat City at home in the competition was Middlesbrough a couple of years ago, where the blues will be hoping they can return the favour when they travel up North to Teeside and look to book their place at Wembley for another semi-final place later this month.

Capitals punish the sorry Storm

 

primarystorm2015logo-1 Manchester Storm 2 – 5 Edinburgh Capitalsedinburgh_capitals_logo-svg

A workmanlike performance from the Edinburgh Capitals side saw the Scottish side hopes of a late surge for a playoff place boosted with a 5-2 win at the Altrincham Ice Arena, but in the process put a big dent into the Storm’s aspirations of securing a playoff spot at the same time

Edinburgh who looked dead and buried a few weeks ago when talk of playoff places was being mentioned, now sees them possibly trying to force their way into the reckoning if they can get on a hot streak late in the season. They got off to a flyer though in the contest on Saturday night, when Karel Hromas fired the Caps’ ahead at 1:37 into the game with the puck going straight through the legs of Mike Clemente for an early lead.

Manchester didn’t seem to be at the races in the early exchanged and with the side suffering a blow in midweek with Matt Bissonnette suffering a leg injury in their midweek friendly win over Milton Keynes Lightning, it saw the short bench getting shorter. The visitors looked by far more up for the fight and was playing like more a playoff bound team than the hosts were. Manchester looked like a bunch of lost souls out on the ice and like they had never played together in a game, with passes going astray and no communication it seemed between them.

Jack Prince got the hosts on the board at 9:26, with Cody Cartier and Paul Phillips assisting on the home opener and perhaps this was the boost they needed to get into the game. It did have a strange feel of whoever was playing the better hockey in the game would seemingly concede a goal and with Edinburgh being the better side of the two in the opening ten minutes of it contest, it then found them going behind to another Jack Prince goal to make it 2-1. Though it was thanks mainly to a fantastic assist from Darian Dziurzynski where the Canadian spinned away and then played a nice pass across goal for Prince to tap home.

However with Manchester now looking the brighter of the two teams with time ticking down on the opening period, it saw the Caps tying the game up at 2-2 courtesy of Ian Schultz and had Clemente having a rare night off, as he wasn’t his normal solid self and will have bitterly disappointed to concede the two he did in the opening period.

Second period was full of mistakes and errors by the home side which allowed the Scottish side to make the most of their chances when they came and had Michael DOrazio making it 3-2 Capitals with 25:21 gone in the game before Jacob Johnston then struck to make it 4-2 for the visitors and leave the home side unable to respond at all.

Storm looked off the pace and had no one was able to generate any type of spark for the side to get things going. Third period was fairly flat with Edinburgh doing their best to make it hard for the hosts to get many clear cut chances and closed down the shooting lanes and had the Capitals fans sensing a big win was coming for their side.

Manchester pulled their goalie to try and get into position to score a couple of late goals and get the game within one. Unfortunately the visitors finished the home side off with an empty net goal through Pavel Vorobyev at 58:37 to see the Storm condemned to their fourth straight defeat and leave them hanging onto their playoff place by a thread as the crunch games lay ahead of them.

The loss at home to Edinburgh was compounded by another defeat the following night in Coventry, with Manchester’s persistent overtime curse continuing to plague them in a 3-2 shootout defeat. After the weekend’s games it leaves Manchester and Coventry both three points clear of their nearest rivals in the table in Dundee in 9th spot, however both the Storm and Stars have played the same amount of games.

Things don’t get any easier for the Storm either as next weekend, with games against the league leaders in Cardiff Devils at home on Friday night and that is followed by a trip over the English Channel to Belfast the day after before facing Braehead in midweek.


Match Stats:

Manchester: Jack Prince 2+0, Darian Dziurzynski 0+2, Cody Cartier 0+2

Edinburgh: Jacob Johnston 1+2, Ian Schultz 1+1, Karel Hromas 1+0, Michael DOrazio 1+0, Pavel Vorobyev 1+0, Mason Wilgosh 0+2,  Garrett Milan 0+2, Michal Dobron 0+1, Travis Fullerton 0+1, Jared Staal 0+1


Penalties / Powerplays:

Manchester:  4 PIMS   –   PP:  0/1 (0.00%)

Edinburgh:    2 PIMS   –   PP: 0/2  (0.00%)


Netminders:

Manchester: Mike Clemente  – Shots 35 + (1 empty net)- Saves 31  (88.6
%) 

Edinburgh  : Travis Fullerton – Shots 36 – Saves 34 (94.4%)