Raiders Indian sign over Phoenix strikes again

Sunday, 13th December 2009

Romford Raiders 5 - 4 Manchester Phoenix

A third period fightback by the Manchester Phoenix came to nothing on Sunday night as the Romford Raiders snatched victory with a last minute powerplay goal to deny Phoenix at least a share of the spoils.

Phoenix headed south looking for a better result from Romford than their first visit of the season, which ended in an 8-3 loss to the Raiders. Adam Summerfield was again starting between the pipes as the visitors cut to two-line hockey with four players missing on International duty. Romford opened the scoring in the seventh minute, Matt Turner on the mark assisted by Sitko. The Phoenix cause wasn't helped as player coach Tony Hand broke a skate and had to await repairs before rejoining the play. The Raiders then doubled their advantage in the 14th minute through Jason Buckman. Phoenix responded three minutes later as Adam Walker and Ed Courtenay provided the opening for Jaakko Hagelberg to make it a one-goal game at the first break.

The Raiders against started brightly in the second session and regained a two-goal lead in the 23rd minute as Dean Tonks set up Dallas Costanza to finish. Phoenix hit back in double-quick time, taking just 25 seconds for Ed Courtenay to tally on assists from Walker and Hagelberg. The Raiders again enjoyed more of the possession and Summerfield in the Phoenix goal was the busier goalie, working hard to keep his team in the hunt at the forty-minute mark.

The home side again jumped into a third two-goal advantage in the third period as on a powerplay, Jon Sitko made it 4-2 and the home crowd revelled in their team taking it to the league leaders. Phoenix again cut the arrears to one in the 46th minute, Courtenay netting his second of the game on assists from Walker and captain Luke Boothroyd. Phoenix were now piling on the pressure, dominating the possession and the scoring opportunities, and in the 53rd minute, the game was tied as Hagelberg found Andre Payette and the Canadian gleefully scored. The momentum was now firmly with the visitors, but fate took a hand as Courtenay an d Hagelberg were both penalised in the final minutes and on the resulting powerplay in the final minute, Costanza bagged his second of the game to earn the Raiders a valuable two points and send the Phoenix home with nothing to show for their efforts in their third game in four nights.

A Phoenix spokesperson noted, "Considering we were four guys short and Tony (Hand) was hampered by a damaged skate, we actually played well and at 4-4, the game was there for the taking. Romford competed hard and they'll give a lot of teams trouble, especially on their home ice, but we were a little disappointed with the manner of the final goal. To be penalised for two minors so late in the game when there had been so little in the preceding fifty-odd minutes is a little hard to swallow. We won't make a big issue out of it though, we'll just stiffen our resolve till we get the GB boys and (Steve) Fone back and back to a full-strength squad."