Efficient Phoenix sink struggling Bison

Sunday, 12th October 2008

Manchester Phoenix 5 - 2 Basingstoke Bison

Manchester Phoenix put in a professional performance on Sunday night as they prevailed over a hard-fighting Bison outfit desperate to get the monkey off their back.

Basingstoke, winless in their previous eleven games, proved to be stiff opposition for a Phoenix giving a home debut to Lucas Burnett. And inside three minutes, the gloves were off as Brett Clouthier and Jeremy Cornish engaged in hostilities the Phoenix Hitman the winner on a points decision. When the dust had settled is was the visitors who had the best of the early chances, Greg Chambers missing the net when it seemed a cast-iron certainty for him to score. Phoenix opened the scoring on a 13th minute powerplay as Bison failed to clear their zone and Phoenix captain Kenton Smith blasted home from just inside the blueline for the only goal of the first period.

Into the second period and Phoenix doubled their lead taking just eight seconds of the session for David-Alexandre Beauregard to tap home his 11th goal of the season. Phoenix began to turn up the heat and the 25th minute saw them extend the margin to three as Tony Hand swept home on a two-man advantage. With the home support expecting the Bison to capitulate, the visitors showed they couldn’t be treated lightly as they reduced the arrears in the 29th minute as on a powerplay with Lucas Burnett off for Holding, Danny Stewart finished off a mishit shot from Brent Hughes. The goal boosted the visitors and Phoenix were grateful to Stephen Murphy who stunned them with a superb glove save to protect the home lead. Phoenix then scored the goal of the game with a flowing move finished with panache by Luke Fulghum in the 38th minute.

The third period saw Phoenix always in control before another little dust-up involving Bison forward Matt Miller and Phoenix Alex Dunn gave the visitors a lift and they added a second from Mark Richardson with just less than six minutes to play. Desperate to get their season going, Basingstoke pulled their goalie with just over a minute to play and the ploy backfired as Adam Walker latched onto a pass from Burnett to score into the unguarded net just before the end.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented afterwards, “We put in a professional performance tonight against a team that always make you work hard for the points. I thought both goalies played well tonight as both teams made chances and both made some key saves. Now though, our attention switches quickly to Thursday night and the Challenge Cup tie here against Edinburgh. We’ve had a good start to the season and a victory on Thursday will almost certainly see us into the next round. It’ll be one of those games when the crowd can play a massive part in our progression. Nothing would give us the extra impetus more than if we have a big, noisy crowd in the Ice Dome to cheer us on.”

Thursday nights Challenge Cup tie against the Edinburgh Capitals is a 7.15pm face-off in the Altrincham Ice Dome.

Stephen Murphy

Man of the Match for Phoenix: Stephen Murphy

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