Four-point weekend keeps Phoenix in the hunt for third place finish

Monday, 22nd March 2010

Sheffield Scimitars 2 – 6 Manchester Phoenix
Manchester Phoenix 10 – 1 Romford Raiders

Manchester Phoenix completed a second successive four-point weekend with victory over the Sheffield Scimitars on Saturday followed by a comfortable Sunday evening demolition of the Romford Raiders. And the weekend saw Iain Bowie grab five goals to take his seasons total to 23.

Phoenix got off to a lightning start on Saturday as Robert Lachowicz needed just 36 seconds to light the goal lamp, but the gritty Scimitars fought back to lead at the first interval on goals from Archer and Brittle after the latter capitalised on a bad rebound off the pads of Steve Fone in the Phoenix net. The second period saw Phoenix regain the advantage as Lachowicz bagged his second of the game before former Scimitars forward Stephen Wallace scored against his former employers. Adam Walker added another to give the visitors a two-goal cushion at the second break. In the final period, Phoenix rubber-stamped their season-long stranglehold over the Yorkshire club as they added two further markers, courtesy of a brace from Iain Bowie.

Sunday saw another quick start from the Phoenix as Bowie opened the scoring with only 32 seconds having elapsed. Phoenix were playing good hockey against a Romford side who had only managed five wins all season and a brace from Jaakko Hagelberg saw them take a three-goal lead into the first interval. Phoenix were in total control of the game and Bowie gave them a fourth goal in the 29th minute. Phoenix took advantage of their only powerplay opportunity in the 31st minute as Adam Walker made it 44 for the season on an assist from Tony Hand and Phoenix took the chance to replace Steve Fone with Adam Summerfield in goal. Six-nil came in the 39th minute as Hand himself crashed home a pass from Hagelberg, before a slip by Joe Graham allowed Romford to snatch a consolation goal from Darius Pliskauskas. The final period saw Phoenix add four more goals to reach double figures. James Neil struck his sixth of the campaign inside a minute of the restart before Iain Bowie completed his personal hat-trick in the 44th minute. Romford changed their netminder replacing Charlie Kaylor with the diminutive figure of Frankie Sabine and the 17-year old made some excellent saves and his effort was appreciated by the Phoenix crowd. Sabine however couldn’t prevent phoenix from reaching double figures as Stephen Wallace bagged a brace of goals in the 38th and 58th minutes respectively.

A Phoenix spokesperson commented, “After the 2-1 loss to Peterborough on Thursday, a game we thought we should have taken at least a point form, it was vital we took four points this weekend. We want to finish in third place and with just two games to go, away to Swindon and at home next Sunday against Bracknell, we’ve given ourselves a great chance of securing third. That will guarantee home ice advantage in the second leg of the playoff games on the weekend of April 3rd and 4th. Obviously, we lost Ed Courtenay this week, but the good thing is the team have responded and by spreading the goals around the line-up, the other teams might find it harder to prepare to play against us.”