Phoenix win again on second period turnaround

Sunday, 15th November 2009

Sheffield Scimitars 2 - 5 Manchester Phoenix

After a slow start on Sunday night Manchester Phoenix surged back with their now usual strong second period and saw them turn the tables on the Sheffield Scimitars to win in style.

Phoenix looked anything but their high-flying standing in the first period on Sunday night as the Scimitars started strongly winning the early battles and generally quicker to the puck. The only goal of the period went to the home side as with Greg Wood serving a Roughing minor, Peter Slamiar fired the Scimitars ahead on the four-minute mark. Despite not firing on all cylinders, Phoenix held firm and went to the first interval trailing and expecting a pep-talk from coach Tony Hand.

Whatever Hand said in the first break certainly hit home as his side tore into the Scimitars in the second period as if their lives depended on it. Adam Walker pulled the Phoenix level and Tony Hand himself shot them into the lead with less than five minutes gone. Walker then added his second of the game on a 26th minute powerplay and chaos in the home defence a minute later allowed Ed Courtenay to continue his goal-a-game average. Seven minutes had passed and the whole complexion of the game had changed, the home fans were stunned while the travelling Phoenix support were in full party mode. Phoenix dominated the remainder of the period, but failed to add to the score as the Scimitars dug in.

The Scimitars needed to strike back early, but it wasn't until they went on a two-man powerplay with both Adam Walker and Jaakko Hagelberg in the sin-bin that they reduced the arrears, Robert Farmer the scorer in the 47th minute. The goal boosted the home side, but they were rocked back on the heels within three minutes as the deadly combination of Courtenay and Hand struck, the latter netting his second of the game to restore the three-goal margin. No further scoring saw the Phoenix gather another four-point weekend and retain top spot as news of Milton Keynes having done likewise filtered through.

A Phoenix spokesperson noted, "We were slow out of the traps tonight and we put the first interval to good use to straighten a few things out. Sheffield have been in good form of late and we couldn't afford to let them gain a margin of control. The players listened and their reaction was just what was required and expected. Once we got the lead, we were always in control and in the end fully deserving of the two points."