War of the Roses: the rematch

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011

Lancashire and Yorkshire’s finest will meet twice in 6 days in another War of the Roses, this time for league and cup points.

The J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix will travel to Ice Sheffield on Saturday afternoon to take on Andre Payette’s Sheffield Steeldogs. The teams will then do it all again the following Thursday at the Altrincham Ice Dome.

It may be an early afternoon face off - 1pm - due to November 5th celebrations, but it is sure to have a firework display of its own. The Steeldogs are a much improved team this season and are a match for any team in the league, especially at home.

To add a bit of spice to the occasion, they boast three ex-Phoenix players in their ranks. Pavel Gomeniuk and Ben Morgan marshall the blue line and Greg Wood captains the side. Of course player coach Andre is no stranger to Phoenix fans and is already stoking the fires across the hills for this clash. Andre was quoted as saying “This is the most important game of the season so far for us.”

Phoenix have been hard hit by injuries this season and still have their two import defencemen, Jaroslav Spelda and Ladislav Harabin out.

Coach Hand said: “We could have Ladzi back for this weekend, depending on how he gets on at the dentist to have his stitches taken out. Jaro won’t be available and is probably out for a few weeks yet. I don’t want to harp on about injuries as it happens to every team. It’s just part of the game and we will battle on, doing our best to pick up points until we get some bodies back. I am proud of the way the guys have battled and we will give it the same commitment at Sheffield. Ben Wood and Luke Boothroyd were fantastic over the weekend, in fact the whole defence were great and everybody is stepping up to the plate. It will be tough against Sheffield as they have improved considerably this season.”

Forward Slava Koulikov said on Phoenix TV: “It’s a local derby and they are a much better team this year. They are physical and hard-working. We know what they are all about and we will have to be at our best.”

Phoenix will, as always, take a big following over to Sheffield hoping to continue their good run against the Steeldogs but nobody is under any illusions. It will be a tough afternoon at Ice Sheffield.

If you fancy a Saturday afternoon off from the shopping, get yourself over Woodhead to Ice Sheffield and support Manchester’s fastest and most exciting sports team, your very own Manchester Phoenix.

The next instalment after Saturday will be on Thursday 10th November at the Ice Dome with a 19.30 face off.