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Phoenix need penalty shootout to overcome Caps

Saturday, 20th September 2008

Manchester Phoenix 5 – 4 Edinburgh Capitals

Another exciting game in the Altrincham Ice Dome saw Manchester Phoenix fight back from two goals down but, need a penalty shootout to overcome a hard-battling Edinburgh outfit.

Phoenix got off to the worst possible start as the Capitals were ahead in just 57 seconds as captain Martin Cingel netted with Josh Garbutt in the penalty box. And the Scots doubled their lead in the seventh minute as a defensive error saw possession of the puck lost and Iain Bowie powered a short range blast past Stephen Murphy in the Phoenix goal. Phoenix hit back but found Edinburgh goalie Michel Robinson in fine form as they failed to capitalise on four powerplay opportunities in a stop-start opening to the game. Phoenix finally clicked into gear with a double salvo in the space of just ten seconds in the 17th minute. First Alex Dunn crashed a powerplay shot from the blueline past and straight from the restart, The Phoenix piled forward and Kyle Bruce forced home the equaliser from a tight angle.

Phoenix were now playing with more fluency and carved out two great chances in the early stages of the second period with Robinson making tremendous saves to deny Brett Clouthier and David Beauregard when it seemed easier for them to score. With Phoenix on another man advantage just pas the half hour mark, they finally got their noses in front as David-Alexandre Beauregard bagged his sixth goal of the season with a neat finish. Phoenix then put their shorthanded special teams to good use as with Grant Jacobsen in the penalty box, they broke quickly from defence and Bruce Mulherin made the most of another excellent pass from Luke Fulghum to stretch the lead to two in the 34th minute. Kyle Bruce and Capitals Adam Stefishen then decided a pugilistic contest was needed and the two, who are good friends off the ice, entertained the crowd with an excellent archetypal hockey fight. When play resumed the Capitals reduced the arrears with Joe Dustin blasting home off the left flank.

The third period saw Phoenix again foiled repeatedly by Robinson in the visitors goal with a late glove save to deny Tony Hand a telling moment as less than a minute later, they were level as Dustin rifled a 57th minute equaliser past Murphy to set up the overtime period. There was further disappointment for the Phoenix in the final period as defenceman Josh Garbutt had to be helped off the ice and he was subsequently taken to hospital for an exploratory x-ray to determine the exact nature of the injury. Phoenix dominated the five-minute overtime session, but the result was eventually decided on a penalty shootout with Bruce Mulherin scoring the all-important game-winning goal on the sixth shot.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented, “We got caught cold tonight as we didn’t start well and we had to dig deep a little to get ourselves back in the game. Once we were level, I thought we could go on and win the game however, I give Edinburgh credit for sticking at their game. They came to play tonight and I thought it was a pretty good game. In the end I think we were worthy of the two points an eight points from the opening ten is a very good start for us.”

On the injury to Josh Garbutt, Hand added, “We will definitely be without Josh tomorrow when we go to Sheffield, and we’ll just have to wait and see what the x-rays show in terms of how long he may be missing.”

Josh Garbutt

Phoenix will be without Defencemen Josh Garbutt for tomorrow's match against Sheffield


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