Murphy shut-out as Phoenix blank Stingrays

Saturday, 22nd November 2008

Manchester Phoenix 5 - 0 Hull Stringrays

A 22-shot shut-out for netminder Stephen Murphy, two more goals for league-leading scorer David-Alexandre Beauregard and two more points for Tony Hand were the highlights as Manchester Phoenix completed a comfortable victory over the injury-hit Stingrays on Saturday night.

With injured Bruce Mulherin taking over as bench coach, Phoenix opened brightly against a Stingrays side missing injured Slava Koulikov and the steadying influence of captain Troy Neumeier. Both side killed early penalties before Phoenix hit the Stingrays with a two-goal salvo in the space of 36 seconds. First defenceman Alex Dunn pierced the visitors rearguard assisted by Lucas Burnett and from the restart, an inch-perfect pass from Tony Hand released David-Alexandre Beauregard and he raced away one-on-one to beat Cruickshank for two-nil in the 11th minute. Phoenix dominated the first period and only heroics from Cruickshank stopped them from adding to their tally.

With Hull losing Stuart Kerr to injury, the second period opened in stunning fashion as Phoenix carved open the Hull defence only for Cruickshank to stun Luke Fulghum with an outstanding glove save. The home side though were not to be denied for long though as they needed just eight seconds of a 24th minute powerplay for Beauregard to add his 22nd goal of the season with a close range finish. Hull worked hard to try and get back into the game, but Murphy in the Phoenix goal was making key saves whenever they did find a way through a resolute Phoenix defence, and Phoenix took the three-goal lead to the second break.

With Phoenix always in control of the game, the final two goals didn’t come till late in the game and after the home side had killed penalties against Josh Garbutt and Luke Boothroyd. Kyle Bruce tallied on a 55th minute powerplay and just over a minute later Josh Garbutt gleefully crashed home as the Phoenix went nap.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand reflected, “We played a thoroughly professional game tonight, everyone contributed and we deserved the two points on offer. Hull were missing two players and lost another, but we couldn’t and didn’t take them lightly as we knew they’d battle hard. It was very pleasing to see Stephen (Murphy) get his first shut-out of the season, he works hard in training and deserved the clean sheet with some fine saves when called upon to do so.”

Stephen Murphy

Man of the Match Stephen Murphy recorded his first shut-out of the season.

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