Phoenix lose as they begin to focus on post-season

Sunday, 23rd March 2008

Hull Stingrays 6 - 2 Manchester Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix used Sundays’ final game of the regular season to rest player coach Tony Hand and goalie Scott Fankhouser, and give Benn Schofield some valuable ice time ahead of the post-season playoffs.

Hull started with energy in front a big crowd, and hoping to end their disappointing season on a high. They duly raced into a two-goal lead by the six minute mark courtesy of a Bryce Thoma powerplay strike and Jake Riddle, netting the first of a hat-trick with a wraparound finish. Phoenix steadied the ship and Kudrna in the home goal began to see more of the puck making good saves to foil Joe Tallari and Brian Passmore.

Phoenix hit back early in the middle period as approach work from Tallari and Passmore created the opening for Simon Mangos to crash home a shot from the slot with barely a minute played. The Stingrays quickly to regain the two-goal advantage as Luke Boothroyd netted after as goalmouth scramble. Phoenix leading scorer Tallari continued to see chances go begging and was unlucky to see a shot off a pass from Luke Stauffacher beat Kudrna, but cannon back into play off the goalframe. The game exploded in the 36th minute as Nick Whyatt became entangled with Lee Esders and as the two traded punches, Brett Clouthier rushed in and was inevitably ejected from the game for being Third Man In. Moments later, after Stauffacher collided into Kudrna, Omar Ennaffatti and Boothroyd were penalised for Roughing after swapping blows.

Phoenix again scored early in the third period Tallari, at last, escaping his marker to finish with only 26 seconds having elapsed. Phoenix continued to push forward, but Hull again made it a two-goal spread in the 49th minute with Dave Phillips firing home through traffic. Phoenix knew it wasn’t to be their night when Tallari and Mangos both saw shots hit the Stingrays crossbar and the home side duly capitalised as Riddle added two more to complete his personal treble and a 6-2 home win.

A Phoenix spokesperson commented, “After a great result on Saturday in Nottingham, we wanted to rest Tony and Scott, and give the back-up goalies some ice time. We made a hatful of chances and on another night, we could have scored maybe six or seven goals. The important thing tonight was to come through the game without any injuries and we did just that. This week will see everyone preparing for the playoffs with the clubs Awards Evening on Thursday evening, an ideal opportunity to relax before Fridays’ game away to Sheffield.”

Phoenix take on the Sheffield Steelers for the right to go to the Playoff Finals weekend in Nottingham. The two-legged series sees Phoenix travel to Sheffield on Friday night for a 7.30pm face-off before the crucial home game on Sunday in the Altrincham Ice Dome with face-off at 5.30pm.

A Phoenix official said, “Tickets for the home game on the 30th are selling very quickly and we would urge all Phoenix supporters to get their tickets in advance by purchasing online at or by contacting the office on 0161-301-6848.

Benn Schofield

Benn Schofield started for Phoenix while Fankhouser rested in preparation for the post-season
(Image: Richard Murray)

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