Poljacek treble as Phoenix crash at the Hanger

Saturday, 19th December 2009

Slough Jets 7 - 1 Manchester Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix crashed to a 7-1 loss in the Hanger at Slough on Saturday evening with Jets forward Peter Poljacek helping himself to a second period hat trick in the process. Only a late strike from Ed Courtenay maintained the Phoenix record of having scored in every game this season.

With the Trafford Metros playing on Saturday, Manchester Phoenix travelled to Slough with just ten skaters and netminder Adam Summerfield to call upon against a strongly fancied Slough Jets side keen to close the gap on the league leaders. Despite having to play just two lines of forwards, Phoenix coach Tony Hand and his players took the game to the home side in the opening period while Summerfield continued to make his mark with some key saves, notably as the Jets counter-attacked. The only goal of the opening session went the way of the Jets though as seconds after they had killed a Phoenix powerplay, another quick counter saw Slava Koulikov score on the16-minute mark.

Where the first period had been close on the scoreboard, the second wasn't. After Slough had a goal disallowed and Greg Rockman in the home goal made a number of good saves to deny Adam Walker and Tony Hand, once the half-hour mark had passed, the Jets took control of the game with a five-goal salvo. Poljacek bagged the first of a personal hat trick in the 32nd minute and less than two minutes later added his second. Davies capitalised on a turnover to make it 4-0 on a powerplay with Phoenix captain Luke Boothroyd in the penalty box and in the final two minutes of the period, Greener and Poljacek added further markers to seal the Phoenix fate on the night.

The final period was time for the Phoenix to play for pride and consolation and they bravely tried to fightback with Rockman in the Jets goal again busy in denying Hand and Walker as the Phoenix kept forcing the pace. An Interference penalty on Andre Payette however, gave the home side the chance to take a seven-goal lead although they needed a deflection off the skate of Phoenix defenceman Andre Mattsson to beat Summerfield in the 44th minute. Phoenix were facing the ignominy of being shutout and that spurred them to a late effort and their reward finally came in the 53rd minute as Hand and Walker combined for Ed Courtenay to break the Rockman shutout.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented, "Naturally I'm disappointed, but if I'm honest with the size of the squad we had available to us this evening, I wasn't too hopeful of getting a result. No team can afford to lose four players and their number one goalie and expect to keep on winning. That's the problem we've had to face and I'm not crying about it, it's just the way things are for us right now. Sunday we face Sheffield who are also missing guys, so it's important we try to bounce back and take two points from that game. If we can do that I'll look upon things a bit more positively going into Christmas a break we need."