Mangos strike seals Phoenix win in see-saw epic

Sunday, 23rd December 2007

Cardiff Devils 5 – 6 Manchester Phoenix after o/t

Festive fayre was served in huge proportions in Cardiff Bay on Saturday night as the Manchester Phoenix and hometown Devils played out a hugely entertaining and nailbiting encounter.

And Phoenix had defenceman Simon Mangos to thank for taking the extra point with his sweet finish in sudden death overtime in a game that had seen both sides establish and give up two goals leads.

With Cardiff missing their regular netminder Phil Osaer to injury, Telfords’ Mike Brabon deputised and the Devils gameplan saw them attacking early intent upon keeping the Phoenix forwards from getting on top early. Scott Fankhouser needed to be alert to deny Max Birbraer on a breakaway but was unable to prevent the same player from opening the scoring in the 9th minute with a shorthanded blast from the left wing circle. Phoenix responded just over three minutes later when Tony Hand fed Joe Tallari and his precise finish from the left flank made it 1-1.

The second period saw Cardiff again start strongly and Phoenix had to work hard to kill a Tripping penalty on Omar Ennaffati with Brabon somehow foiling Tallari after spilling an initial shot from Luke Stauffacher. The Devils regained the advantage just before the half-hour mark as Petricko netted and it became a two-goal margin just over a minute later as Silverthorn at the back door made the most of another Devils powerplay opportunity. Phoenix refused to panic and Brian Passmore reduced the arrears in the 33rd minute converting a pass from Ennaffati. Penalties on Sean Starke and Brad Voth saw the teams playing four-on-four and that worked well for the visitors as Passmore bagged his second of the game to tie the scoreline again at the second interval.

Having recovered a two-goal deficit, it was the Phoenix turn to take a lead and Tallari with his second of the game fired the visitors ahead in the 45th minute after Brabon failed to hold his first effort. Five minutes later and the Phoenix had their own two-goal spread as Sean Starke netted on a wraparound. Tony Hand then had a glorious chance to put the game beyond Cardiff, but Brabon gloved his rising shot in fine style. Penalty trouble then hampered the Phoenix cause as first Jeff MacMillan and then Hand were sent to the sin bin handing the Devils a long 5-on-3 powerplay. And the Devils executed perfectly as Mike Garrow fired home from the top of the right circle before captain Brad Voth brought the home fans to their feet with the 5-5 equaliser with less than five minutes to play. Cardiff killed an Elbowing penalty on Birbraer to send the game into the extra period.

Phoenix took the extra point with the overtime winner as Tallari found Jeff MacMillan on the left wing and his shot to the net was sweetly deflected past Brabon at 61.25 by Simon Mangos stationed on the edge of the goalies crease.

A Phoenix spokesperson noted, “that was a tough game as it went one way and then the other too often for comfort, we're sure the fans got their moneys worth as there was no shortage of goalmouth action at either end. We're just pleased we battled hard and dug deep and it’s big win for us. With the Devils coming to Manchester on Sunday, we know we’ll be in for another tough game, but hopefully we beginning to get on a bit of a roll and we keep things going for our supporters going into Christmas.”

Simon Mangos

Simon Mangos scored in overtime to take the extra point for Phoenix
(Image: Richard Murray)

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