Clouthier outstanding as Phoenix win on Mothers Day

Sunday, 2nd March 2008

Manchester Phoenix 5 - 2 Mobilx Vipers

Brett Clouthier scored two goals and added two assists in his Man of the Match performance as the Manchester Phoenix rebounded from Saturday's disappointing loss to overcome a stiff challenge from the Newcastle Vipers.

Phoenix, needing to restore confidence started brightly and Joe Tallari was unlucky not to open the scoring in the first minute. Vipers killed the first Phoenix powerplay with MacDonald in the visitors goal making two quick saves. Tallari continued to be the Phoenix early scoring threat and he saw two more shots in quick succession blocked. Newcastle worked hard to kill another penalty before Scott Basiuk set up Tallari and somehow the leagues leading goalscorer missed the target when it looked easier to score. Newcastle again worked hard to kill the third penalty offence they conceded, but were unable to prevent Jeff MacMillan forcing the puck past MacDonald in the 16th minute for the only goal of a session that the Phoenix had dominated.

Vipers had a great chance to tie the score early in the second period as David Longstaff went for a wraparound attempt, but Scott Fankhouser was alert and blocked the shot. Brian Passmore led the Phoenix raids and twice saw shots blocked and saved by the impressive MacDonald. Both sides then killed penalties and Fankhouser made a good stop to deny Vipers Henderson before Phoenix doubled their lead in the 36th minute courtesy of Luke Stauffacher capitalising on a rare error by the Vipers goalie as he spilled a shot and the diminutive Phoenix forward too full advantage.

A Hooking infringement on player coach Tony Hand allowed Newcastle the chance to reduce the arrears on the resulting powerplay and defenceman Ben Storey was on hand to score on a feed from Longstaff. The game was now tighter, although Phoenix were still making more chances without adding to their lead - the game needed an extra spark. It came in the 53rd minute when a Vipers attack resulted in a goalmouth melee as Vipers forward Derek Campbell traded punches with both Fankhouser and Clouthier. Newcastle drew another penalty moments later and on the resulting Phoenix powerplay when Brett Clouthier returned to the action, he collected a superb pass from Hand to race in unimpeded to fire home the third goal in the 55th minute. Newcastle responded on 56 minutes as Todd Jackson fired home to set up a tense finale, but that man Brett Clouthier showed great drive and desire to collect a pass from Sean Starke before firing high past MacDonald just 41 seconds later. Vipers used their Timeout to lift MacDonald for the extra skater and after two or three long range efforts on the unguarded goal had gone wide, Phoenix got the insurance empty-netter as Joe Tallari chased down a loose puck to tap home the Phoenix fifth marker with just 21 seconds remaining.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented afterwards, "I think that was a really good game. Both teams came to play, with no shortage of skill and physical endeavour and it was a full-blooded sixty minutes. We needed to be better than Saturday night and the guys responded well and we got a great effort. Newcastle had their moments and I thought defensively, we played very well tonight. All round though, I was pleased with the performance from everyone."

Brett Clouthier

Brett Clouthier scored two goals and assisted in two others.
(Image: Richard Murray)

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