Raiders no match for surging Phoenix

Sunday, 4th October 2009

Manchester Phoenix 7 – 0 Romford Raiders

Manchester Phoenix completed a four-point weekend by following up Saturdays’ fine 5-1 win in Swindon with a comprehensive thrashing of the hapless Romford Raiders on Sunday. A brace of goals apiece for Robert Lachowicz and Iain Bowie were complemented by clean sheet goaltending by both Steve Fone and Adam Summerfield.

Phoenix began brightly taking just over two minutes to take the lead on the games first powerplay opportunity – James Neil and Adam Walker setting up Greg Wood for a back post finish, his first of the season. And when Romford incurred their second penalty, the home side gleefully punished them, Iain Bowie burying his third goal of the weekend with only six minutes played. Phoenix made it a three-goal lead in the 13th minute with a length of the rink move begun by goalie Steve Fone and finished sweetly by Robert Lachowicz. Fone was not being overly tested by the Romford team, but did make one impressive glove save to take his team to the first break with a comfortable lead.

Phoenix, who replaced Fone with Adam Summerfield in goal at the start of the second period, again struck early taking just 70 seconds for Bowie to find space in the slot to crash home his second of the game off a feed from Jaakko Hagelberg. The home side were in total control and it was something of a surprise to the home fans that the expected avalanche of scoring didn’t materialise. Credit went to Joe Myers in the Raiders goal who worked overtime in turning away a further 17 shots, including a twice-taken penalty shot by Adam Walker in the 36th minute, as the Phoenix laid siege to his goal, while his opposite number was enjoying a trouble-free first outing between the Phoenix pipes.

The resistance of Myers and the Raiders eventually broke in the final period as the dominant home side added three more markers. Adam Walker finally broke his duck for the season in the 44th minute sweeping home from close range after a shot from Andre Mattsson had hit the post and three minutes later, Ed Courtenay blasted a shot through the legs of Myers off a sweet pass from Tony Hand. The scoring was completed in the 50th minute as Man of the Match Lachowicz netted his second of the game. Phoenix continued to totally dominate the possession, but eased off the pedal with the game and points already long since secured.

Phoenix coach Tony Hand noted, “Tonight, I could see the first real signs of the team beginning to gel. I thought everybody played well and it was good to give Adam Summerfield two periods even though he didn’t face that many shots. The really pleasing aspect is the goals we scored being spread around the roster and for the younger lads like Iain and Robert to see their effort and enthusiasm rewarded. With no disrespect to Romford who kept on battling, we’ll have harder games this season, but I’m pleased by the solid all-round effort tonight.”

Next weekend sees the Phoenix at home in Altrincham on Saturday with a 7.00pm face-off against the Sheffield Scimitars before a road trip to Peterborough on Sunday.