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Manchester Phoenix 2 – 8 Coventry Blaze
A three-goal haul for former Phoenix forward KC Timmons on his first return to Manchester was a bitter pill for a fatigued and short-benched Phoenix to swallow on Sunday night.
Phoenix player coach Tony Hand remarked upon his sides’ heaviest defeat on the season saying, “Our guys are tired and when you’re tired, your mistakes get punished heavily. To some extent that was the case on Saturday and definitely tonight. For twenty minutes tonight we were there with them, but the three quick goals at the start of the second session really hurt us.”
Phoenix were again without Scott Basiuk and Joe Tallari, and Hand added, “We badly need those guys back in the line-up. You can only play so many games with a short bench before fatigue becomes a factor and we’ve reached that point. Jeff MacMillan is only just back and not yet 100%, and that puts a strain on the rest of the guys. There is little you can say to the guys after a loss like that, they gave everything they had in the tank, it just wasn’t enough.”
Coventry started quickly with Dan Carlson rifling a 4th minute shot into the top corner, but Phoenix responded just over a minute later when a Simon Mangos powerplay shot hit the goal frame, but the goal judge assured referee Nigel Boniface that the puck had cross the line. Phoenix were giving as good as they were getting and Coventry were rattled with two players – Jonathan Weaver and Carlson – both picking up 10-minute Misconduct penalties for arguing too vociferously with the officials.
The league leaders hit the Phoenix with three goals in the opening five minutes of the second session, Danny Stewart, Timmons with his first - shorthanded effort – and Adam Calder all on the mark. Sean Starke pulled a goal back for the Phoenix in the 28th minute, but a Neal Martin goal restored a three-goal lead at the second interval. Timmons went on to complete his personal treble with goals in the 45th and 49 minutes leaving Stewart to complete the Phoenix misery in the 59th.
A Phoenix spokesperson remarked, “we’ll lick our wounds this week and keep our fingers crossed that the injuries to Scott, Joe and Jeff continue to respond to treatment. We've got another important weekend coming next with a road trip to Edinburgh and then a home game with Basingstoke, so the medical team will be busy this week for sure."