MANCHESTER MAYHEM 5 – 1 PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS
Manchester Mayhem rounded off their home programme in the British Para Ice Hockey League for 2018 with a 5-1 victory over a short-benched Peterborough Phantoms side at Altrincham this past Saturday evening, as their victory made it three wins in a row and set a new club record in the process.
When the sides met earlier in the season down in Bretton it saw on that occasion a short-benched Mayhem side throwing away a 4-2 lead late-on and end up drawing 4-4. This time, however, saw the shoe on the other foot, with the Peterborough team tracking just one line for the whole game – exactly like Manchester did in the reverse fixture.
Both teams entered the clash with differing hopes, for the home side, it was a chance to put some space between themselves and their opponents, while also trying to catch Cardiff in second place.
In the case of Peterborough, it was more a case of trying to score some much-needed goals for themselves, as finding the back of the net has been problematic of late in recent games.
It saw the game being played in a hard and physical way, with Manchester clearly the aggressors and having their tails up after recent thrashings of Sheffield. Both goalies were called upon early on the contest, with Darren Pomfret of the Mayhem and David O’ Meara of the Phantoms making some routine stops.
Manchester nearly opened the scoring through their captain Karl Nicholson, when the Mayhem player had managed to spin away from Marty Quinn in the Phantoms back line, but he wasn’t able to beat O’Meara in goals who instead made a brilliant save to swat the rising puck away.
The home side continued to knock on the door of the Peterborough goals, but they always found the door firmly close by O’Meara. Eventually, they managed to find a way through, after a pass towards Anthony Booth from his captain saw the puck getting caught up under his sledge and saw Nicholson trailing behind to gather up and then find some room before netting the opener.
The opening period saw the Mayhem outshooting their opponents 12-6, with O’ Meara being made to face more rubber than he would have wanted to saw and had Pomfret having the easier time.
Towards the end of the period, it saw a nasty collision involving Peggy Assinck and Scotty Trigg-Turner, with the latter taking the full brunt off of a hit that saw the Mayhem player until to pull out of and ended up with her sledge nearly going over him and saw his neck snapping back a bit, but was purely accidental.
Manchester grabbed their second goal midway through the middle stanza when Rob Allen battled with two Peterborough players by the sideboards and saw the puck squirting out as far as Anthony Booth, who then played a nice little-backhanded pass towards the incoming Karl Nicholson and he slotted home to put a finish to a lovely move and put the Mayhem two up.
Peterborough was really struggling to generate much in the way of shooting chances in the game, and with the Mayhem defence being firmly on top, that meant that the Phantoms shots were being restricted to long-range efforts and not really troubling the netminder.
Anthony Booth then turned from provider to goalscorer in the 28th minute of the game, as his lobbed shot was stopped by O’Meara at first, but then saw the puck ending up in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead and gave Mayhem a nice three-goal cushion.
With forty-one seconds left in the second period, it saw Karl Nicholson completing his third successive hat-trick in a row, after a Graham Wilson pass up the side boards saw Rob Allen holding the puck up on the red line and saw his little pass forward towards Nicholson being collected and ending up with a low shot past the goalie for 4-0 and have the home side in full control.
Peterborough to their credit though never gave up despite showing signs of tiredness by the time the third period came around, as the ‘Phantoms five’ battled to end as best as they could.
The visitors then pulled a goal back at 35.52 through their talisman Matt Coleman, after the GB International had managed to avoid the attempted hit from Pat Bailey and then saw him throwing the puck on goal at the near post and saw Darren Pomfret trying to bat the puck away like a cricketer and mistiming his strokeplay and saw the puck squeezing its way in.
Soon after saw target practice for the Mayhem, when virtually everyone on their line had a shot on goal and saw the defence for Peterborough or O’Meara himself having to fling himself one way or another, just to avoid having the puck going in.
Manchester rounded off the scoring from their captain Karl Nicholson, as the forward grabbing his fourth of the game and Mayhem’s fifth, with the GB attacker winning a face-off that saw his pass up to Rob Allen being held up and then getting the return pass before taking aim and firing home for 5-1 and see the home side signing off with a win in their final home game of the season.
Next up for the Mayhem is a tricky trip in Hull, as they face the back to back league champions in the Kingston Kestrels at the end of the month and perhaps try to strike an early blow against the champions before the Mayhem look to defend their playoff crown next month.