Lehman the hero as Sheffield steal shootout victory

Sunday, 13th January 2008

Manchester Phoenix 1 – 2 Sheffield Steelers
(After Overtime and Penalty Shootout)

Netminder Jody Lehman of the Sheffield Steelers stole the headlines as he helped his side steal a penalty shootout win on Sunday. Having faced 37 shots in the regulation sixty minutes and overtime, he then came up with vital saves in the shootout as the Steelers took the extra point.

Phoenix were keen to get back to winning ways after the disappointing loss to Newcastle on Tyneside on Saturday night and they attacked the Steelers from the start. Lehman rode his luck to some degree in the opening period and this helped to build his confidence for what was to come. Both sides had powerplay opportunities in the opening period with neither able to capitalise. Phoenix suffered a setback when captain Scott Basiuk received what looked a harsh 2+10 penalty on 19 minutes for Checking from Behind.

Sheffield took the lead in the second minute of the second session as Jason Hewitt forced the puck past Scott Fankhouser. Phoenix were certainly working hard, but the combination of Lehmans’ goaltending skills and some bad luck in front of goal failed to produce the equalising goal until the 33rd minute with Simon Mangos netting his ninth of the season from close range assisted by Sean Starke. Shortly afterwards, a collision between Steelers Jeremy Cornish and Phoenix netminder Scott Fankhouser saw Cornish swop words of insult with Brett Clouthier and when Cornish dropped his gloves, Clouthier obliged with the response and took the honours in the subsequent altercation.

The third period saw Phoenix totally dominate the Steelers who but for Lehman would have been well beaten. However the recently under-fire Sheffield goalie showed his worth with a string of impressive saves to keep the scoreline tied at one each and send the game in sudden death overtime. Neither side were able to break the deadlock and it was left to the penalty shootout to decide the additional point on offer. Jeff Legue and Simon Mangos both scored in the first round of penalties and Legue converted his second only for Mangos to fail on his.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented, “I wish I knew when our luck was going to change. We played well in Newcastle last night and lost, and tonight I don’t think we could have done much more against Sheffield. We had by far the better of the chances and but for their goalie, the game would have been safely wrapped up well before the end of regulation time - he was the difference tonight. I cannot fault the effort of my guys in anyway shape or form – we just need lady luck to smile on us for a change.”

Brian Passmore

Brian Passmore won Man of the Match for Phoenix
(Image: Richard Murray)

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