Phoenix blank Raptors to keep pressure on Telford

Sunday, 1st February 2009

Manchester Phoenix ENL 8 - 0 Lancashire Raptors

Saturday evening saw the Phoenix ENL side in action in a local derby and they ran out comfortable winners despite a nervy start against the Blackburn-based Raptors.

Coach Mark Hobson decided to give a first start to the Phoenix Under-18 squad goalie, Matt Lock-Leeming, and what a debut... a 35-shot shut-out and Man of the Match award, an excellent beginning at this level for the young prospect.

Phoenix began well and were two goals to the good by the seven-minute mark after Brian Worrall fired them ahead and shortly afterwards, Phil Hamer bagged the first of his brace on the night. After that though, the remainder of the first period was spent on the backfoot as the home side fell foul of officialdom taking four successive penalties to put themselves under unnecessary pressure. Lock-Leeming became the centre of attention and he responded well blanking the Raptors as they piled on the pressure. On the last of the penalties, the visitors thought they had scored, but an eagle-eyed referee washed the 'goal' off for a forward in the netminders crease. The disallowed goal proved the wake-up call the Phoenix needed as they regained emphatic control of the game from that point onwards.

The second period was all Manchester. The Raptors required some wearing down, but then five goals were scored in twelve minutes. Phil Hamer collected the puck from Ben Wood and Jamie Rogerson and dipsy-doodled the length of the boards leaving the Raptors in his wake, finally stick-handling round Nick Saxton to register his second marker in the 28th minute. Andy Ritchie decided anything Hamer could do, he could do too, and he skated the full length of the opposite boards putting his shot away just before the half-hour mark. Between these goals, Phoenix lost Paul Stapleton ejected from the game after the referee was felled when a group of players was moving quickly along the boards. Paul received a Misconduct penalty for his part and then a game for Dissent. Sean Day made his mark in the 33rd minute before a delighted Max Drakeley scored against his old club on a 37th minute powerplay. The Under-18 show continued as Ben Brown netted his first for the ENL club in the final minute of the period assisted by Drakeley and Traynor.

The game was now won and whilst the Phoenix didn't let up, the Raptors managed to re-group and force shots on the home net. The best save of the night came from Matt Lock-Leeming five minutes into the final period getting his pads down swiftly to deny Lancashire a consolation goal. A couple of minor penalties against the Raptors took some steam out of their recovery and with less than nine minutes remaining, Max Drakeley rounded off the scoring, assisted by Traynor.

An ENL spokesman said "I'm satisfied with the win, and that 13 guys found their way onto the score-sheet. However, we were missing a couple of players and had to re-jig the lines. But that's no excuse. We should have started better. After the game at Solihull we were looking to continue with that speed and flowing movement. To begin with it wasn't there, but it began to return as the game progressed. I hope that the guys can shake themselves and be ready for Flintshire, tomorrow and, then, Telford next weekend. Matt was the star of the night. It's not easy to come into a team for the first time and make a show like that. We're really pleased for him."

Man of the match for Phoenix: Matt Lock-Leeming

Period Scores: 2-0, 5-0, 1-0

Shots on Goal: (Shots on Phoenix first) Total: 33-35

Phoenix Stats: Max Drakeley 2+2, Phil Hamer 2+0, Andy Ritchie 1+1, Brian Worrall 1+1, Jon Maw 0+2, Pete Traynor 0+2, Ben Wood 0+2, Ben Brown 1+0, Sean Day 1+0, Ashton Jenion 0+1, Tom King 0+1, Jake Nurse 0+1, Jamie Rogerson 0+1.

Nets: Matt Lock-Leeming 33/0 (100%)

Matt Leeming

Phoenix Man of the Match: Matt Lock-Leeming

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