Walker hits 50 as Bees are routed

Sunday, 28th March 2010

Manchester Phoenix 10 – 1 Bracknell Bees

Manchester Phoenix forward Adam Walker scored four goals on Sunday night to take his regular season tally to the magic half century as the team finished the season with a double-figure rout of Bracknell.

Walker commented afterwards, “I’m very proud to have reached fifty goals, but the most important thing tonight was that the team won and bounced back from our poor show in Swindon on Saturday.”

In a game delayed by almost two hours due to Bracknell having their bus break down on the M42, Phoenix flew out of the blocks as Iain Bowie netted their first goal after just 26 seconds. Less than two minutes had elapsed before Walker bagged the first of his four, converting a pass from Jaakko Hagelberg and he added his second of the game before the ten-minute mark on a feed from Tony Hand. Phoenix completed a one-sided first period with Hagelberg firing home on a 17th minute powerplay with Walker and Hand the providers. A major disappointment for the Phoenix though was a 2+10 penalty against Hagelberg that could result in a further suspension for the Finn.

Bracknell to their credit tried to stem the tide early in the second session as Anthony Calvert capitalised in the 23rd minute, but it was a brief respite for the bees as Stephen Wallace pounced four minutes later and Tony Hand swept home at the back post before the half-hour mark to put the result beyond any doubt. The 36th minute saw the biggest crowd of the season in the Altrincham Ice Dome celebrate Adam Walker completing his hat-trick to put himself within one of the half century of goals.

The final period saw Phoenix add three further markers to reach double figures as Swedish defenceman Andre Mattsson tapped home in the 45th minute as the home side continued to push forward, keen to erase the memory of Saturday’s performance. Then with just under seven minutes to play, Ben Wood found Tony Hand and the player-coach in turn found Walker and his smart finish saw the 50-goal barrier breached. Phoenix rounded off a superb team effort in the 58th minute as Andre Payette scored from short range on a late powerplay opportunity.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand noted, “Tonight was exactly the reaction I wanted from the team to Saturday night. Everyone improved their performance both individually and collectively and the overall contribution was excellent. I am delighted for Adam Walker that he reached the fifty goal mark, it’s a tribute to the effort he’s put in after a slow start to the season.”

“This has been an interesting season, and whilst some saw us as runaway favourites, I always thought it would prove a tough challenge for a basically young team. If we’d been offered a third place finish in September, I think we’d have taken that and now on the back of this result, we can look forward to the playoffs and hopefully making it to the Finals Weekend in Coventry.”

Adam Walker

Adam Walker scored 4 to a total of 50 for the season.

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