Fulghum brace not enough as Phoenix fightback falls short

Sunday, 30th November 2008

Manchester Phoenix 3 - 5 Cardiff Devils

A double from Luke Fulghum wasn't enough as a spirited fightback by the Phoenix from a three-goal deficit fell short of earning them a draw as the Cardiff Devils held on in a game played at playoff intensity.

Sunday’s home game for the Phoenix began at lightning pace and with plenty of physical play as both sides tried to set the tone early. Both netminders had to be on their mettle as shots rained in at both ends, Peter Aubry in the Devils net denying Alex Dunn and Luke Fulghum while Stephen Murphy in the home goal was kept busy foiling efforts from Devils Campbell and Latulippe. Cardiff took the lead in the 15th minute, seconds after Phoenix had killed a penalty on Dunn, Tyson Teplitsky the scorer.

The second session saw no respite in the pace of the game and with both sets of supporters urging their favourites on. The Devils doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute, Phil Hill forcing the puck home from close range. And the visitors made it a three-goal gap in the 38th minute with a powerplay strike from Latulippe after Phoenix had Dwight Parrish sin-binned for Delaying the Game.

Phoenix came out hard for the final period and the physical aspect of the game saw tempers rise as players clashed in the corner in the 44th minute that resulted in Phoenix forward Kyle Bruce and Devils Brad Voth expelled from the game on 5+Game penalties for Roughing. The nett result was a Phoenix powerplay and they reduced the arrears with Luke Fulghum scoring. But within a minute, the Devils again made it a three-goal gap, Derek Campbell scoring in a goalmouth scramble. Phoenix dug deep and 90 seconds later, leading scorer David-Alexandre Beauregard cut the deficit to two with another close range finish. The home crowd were on their feet again in the 55th minute as Fulghum blasted home his second of the game. But thoughts of a dramatic grandstand finish were dashed in the 58th minute when a speculative shot from Devils Wes Jarvis found its way through a forest of legs to beat Murphy in the home goal.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand noted, “We knew this would be a tough game and that’s how it turned out. It was fast, physical and we dug ourselves something of a hole. But the guys dug in and I thought we were a little unlucky not to get a point. Both sides played hard, no quarter asked or given and both goalies were busy all night long. It’s always tough when you lose at home, but we’ve bounced back before and we’ll do it again.”

Phoenix have no home game next weekend as they fly to Belfast on Friday for their first away game against the Giants before travelling to Cardiff on Saturday.

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