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Devils victory confirms Phoenix to seventh place finish

Saturday, 15th March 2008

Cardiff Devils 2 - 0 Manchester Phoenix

Victory for the home side on Saturday nights saw Manchester Phoenix confirmed as finishing in seventh place in this seasons’ bmibaby Elite League and that will almost certainly see them face the Sheffield Steelers in the playoffs.

Phoenix still missing Sean Starke and Matt Rich travelled to Cardiff hoping to catch the Devils celebrating the Welsh Rugby Union Grand Slam, but the home side remained focused on their primary role. A delayed start to a broken piece of plexiglass in the warm-up session saw an even opening to first period. Both teams failed to capitalise on one powerplay opportunity apiece as the Devils enjoyed the greater puck possession and outshot the visitors, but without breaking the deadlock. 

Cardiff opened the scoring in the 24th minute through Brad Voth as converted a pass from Tyson Teplitsky. With both sides having already qualified for the post-season playoffs, the game was not as intense as previous encounters between the two sides and the session ended with the Devils ahead by the sole goal and ahead on the shots-on-goal count.

The Devils extended their lead early in the final period as Neil Francis netted again with the assist from Teplitsky. With Phoenix pushing hard to reduce the arrears and catching up quick on the shots counter, Cardiff went shorthanded as Deschatelets was penalised for Hooking in the 48th minute. Phoenix though were unable to make the most of the man advantage thanks to the form of Phil Osaer in the Cardiff goal. Phoenix maintained their pressure throughout and gained another powerplay in the final four minutes of the game as Phil Hill was called for Holding the Stick, but again Osaer held sway and turned away the Phoenix shots to protect his shutout and earn the two-nil victory.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented afterwards, “We played quite well considering, we tried a couple of different line combinations and certainly in the third period, we should have had maybe a couple of goals. Both teams played well defensively tonight and Osaer in the Cardiff goal was in very good form. Apart for the two goals, we contained them quite well and kept most of their shots to the outside. Sunday sees us close our home programme against Edinburgh and it’s important that we’re ready for that game to give the supporters a good night for the last home game.”

Tony Hand

Hand: Missing Starke and Rich from his line up, said that the team played well.
(Image: Richard Murray)


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