Three point weekend as Phoenix take Steelers to overtime

Sunday, 5th October 2003

League leading Sheffield Steelers were taken all the way on Sunday night by a battling Manchester Phoenix who narrowly lost out in sudden death overtime.

The Steelers have been rolling other teams over in their own barn but the Phoenix showed they will be a force to be reckoned with over the course of the season. Captain George Awada gave Phoenix the lead with a first period powerplay strike and it took the home side until the 42nd minute to tie the game up. Steelers took the lead under three minutes later but the Phoenix came back and Petteri Lotila came up with the goal that earned a valuable point for the regulation time tie and took the game into sudden death overtime. And the Steelers winning goal had more than a slice of luck to it as the shot from Kirk Dewaele took a deflection off the stick of Phoenix defenceman Jeff Sebastian to deceive netminder Jayme Platt.

Phoenix coach Rick Brebant commented, “We played well again tonight and but for a couple of errors, we could have taken more from the game. On Friday morning, if someone had offered us three points from four on the road this weekend, I would have taken them gladly. Jayme played well tonight, he bounced back well and we know as a team we can improve. Sheffield are riding high right now, but they know they’ve been in a game tonight with a team that is still on the rise. We get them in our building on Friday and we’ll be ready for that – make no mistake.”

Player/assistant coach Jeff Sebastian added, “This is a hard place to come and win, so right now having taken a point, we’re happy but not satisfied. We know where we made a couple of mistakes and we will correct them. Our local British players are getting better with every game and that is very pleasing. I thought they might be a little overawed tonight, but they played hard and are getting stronger and smarter with every game. We got great support tonight from the fans – they can look forward to Friday when we go up against these guys again.”