Starke brace not enough as Phoenix stumble

Sunday, 23rd December 2007

Manchester Phoenix 4 – 7 Cardiff Devils

Sunday night saw the recent revival by the Manchester Phoenix grind to a halt as the Cardiff Devils took revenge for their home loss on Saturday night, and not even a quick fire brace from Sean Starke could halt the Devils.

Fresh from their overtime victory in the Welsh capital on Saturday, Phoenix were looking to make it four wins on the bounce against a Devils side who arrived late in Altrincham due to heavy Yuletide traffic on the motorways. But the late arrival didn’t affect the visitors as they

opened the scoring with a neat backhand finish from Sylvain Deschatelets in the fifth minute to serve notice of their intentions. And when Paul Sample added a quick second marker, Phoenix knew they were in for a tough encounter. With some big hits being thrown, Phoenix tried to hit back and despite creating a number of good chances they failed the pierce the Devils rearguard by the first interval.

The second period saw a brighter start by Manchester and a brace of goals from Sean Starke in a 45-second spell in the 26th minute saw them draw level and raise the hopes of the home crowd. Cardiff immediately used their timeout to steady the ship and it did the trick. Just before the half hour mark, tempers frayed as Devils player coach Gerad Adams caught Joe Tallari, the Phoenix and league-leading goalscorer, in the head and both Scott Basiuk and Omar Ennaffati waded in to mete out their own form of retribution. The hit on Tallari seemed to distract the Phoenix from their task and goals from Tyson Teplitsky and Jason Silverthorn regained the Devils another two-goal lead at the second break as Phoenix continued to spurn good scoring chances.

The writing was on the wall for the home side as a terrific shot from Tallari cannoned back into play off a post early in the third period and the Devils hit them hard with a three goal salvo in the space of a little over two minutes, Petricko, Voth and Silverthorn with his second giving the visitors a commanding lead they would not relinquish. Phoenix were now playing for pride and they managed to salvage some consolation as Brian Passmore scored his third goal of the weekend and Simon Mangos added a fourth marker in the 59th minute.

A Phoenix spokesperson commented, “Naturally, we’re very disappointed to lose this final game before Christmas. We made enough chances, but failed to capitalise and the Devils took full advantage on their chances. They’re a good side and we just have to learn from this and be more clinical up front while tightening up at the back. With three more games before the New Year, we know we need to put right and Boxing Day at home will give us the chance to put some smiles back on the faces of the supporters.”

Sean Starke

Phoenix Man of the Match Sean Starke scored twice inside 1 minute
(Image: Richard Murray)

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