Capitals and Phoenix serve up a nine-goal thriller

Sunday, 9th March 2008

Edinburgh Capitals 5 - 4 Manchester Phoenix

A topsy-turvy Sunday evening game in the Murrayfield Ice Rink saw the Edinburgh Capitals edge home past the Manchester Phoenix in a nine-goal thriller.

Phoenix travelled north knowing their berth in the post-season playoffs had been secured, but missing Sean Starke on compassionate grounds and Matt Rich through injury. Phoenix added ENL players Tom King and Jamie Rogerson to their line-up to add depth to the roster against the improving Edinburgh Capitals.

Edinburgh, still seeking a place in the playoffs, started brightly and opened the scoring in the 9th minute as player coach Doug Christiansen converted a pass from Patrik Luza. Phoenix killed a penalty on Nick Whyatt, but when Brian Passmore was called for Hooking in the 12th minute, Christiansen added his and the Capitals second marker on the resulting powerplay. Phoenix had chances to reduce the arrears, but failed to capitalise when presented with a short two-man advantage when Luza and Mark Wires were penalised as the home side defended doggedly and took their lead to the first interval.

The 15-minute break was just what the doctor ordered for Phoenix as player coach Tony Hand used the time well to re-energise his squad. Having outshot the Capitals in the first period, Hand wanted to see goals and he got his reward on the 23rd minute mark as captain Scott Basiuk converted his pass with netminder Scott Fankhouser also credited with an assist. Phoenix were visibly boosted and they tied the score just over five minutes later with Brett Clouthier continuing his fine recent vein of goalscoring. The Capitals were rocking and it was no surprise when Joe Tallari fired the visitors ahead a four minutes later with his 50th goal of the season. Phoenix killed a penalty against Omar Ennaffati, but saw the home side draw level just before the end of the period as Colin Hemingway found the net to make it a 3-3 game after forty minutes.

Where the first break had favoured the Phoenix, the second worked for the Capitals as just over three minutes into the final session, Christiansen completed his personal hat-trick to fire his side back in front. In a game that had swung one way then the other, inevitably the next twist was another Phoenix equaliser as just over two minutes later, Brian Passmore scored assisted by Clouthier and Simon Mangos. Once again, the pendulum swung the way of the Scots and in the 53rd minute, Ross Dalgliesh edged the Capitals back in front and despite a late penalty on Christiansen, a lead they were able to defend till the final hooter.

A Phoenix spokesperson remarked, “We knew Edinburgh would come hard and we had to battle all the way. We did well to get back into the game twice, and having hit the goal frame a few times just couldn’t find a way back after they went ahead for the third time. We worked hard and it was a good game, and our objective now is to stay healthy and build our momentum for the playoffs.”

Joe Tallari

Joe Tallari scored his 50th goal of the season
(Image: Richard Murray)

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