Phoenix scorers: Tom Duggan, Jaroslav Spelda and Slava Koulikov
J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix iced against the Slough Jets with Jaroslav Spelda back in the line-up but Tony Hand and Stephen Wallace sat out once again.
The first period was end to end hockey with Phoenix pressing the Jets’ defence but finding Rockman in the Jets’ goal in top form. Slough took the lead against the run of play on 7.59 when Doug Sheppard found Adam Calder free on the left and he scored top shelf to make it 1-0. Phoenix pressed hard for the equaliser but the Slough defence held firm. One last chance in the period fell to Phoenix but the puck came back off the post. End of the first and 1-0 to the visitors.
51 seconds into the second period and the Jets doubled their lead with Adam Calder’s second of the game. Slough were first to the puck all over the ice and made it 3-0 with a powerplay goal on 27.57 as Joe Greener scored. The game took a feisty turn as Martin Cingel was adjudged to have charged Greg Rockman and a few of the Jets’ players took exception to this. Alex Symonds picked up a 2 plus 10 for checking Martin from behind. Doug Sheppard made it 4-0 and Dan Davies rounded off a disappointing period for Phoenix by scoring Jets’ fifth of the night. They even had the puck in the net again as the period ended but the goal was rightly washed out for man in the crease. Excellent call by the linesman who informed the ref of the infringement.
Coach Hand changed things around a bit in the second period break and Phoenix began to take the game to the Jets. Tom Duggan pulled a goal back on 44.37 with a powerplay score. The Phoenix powerplay worked again two minutes later as a Spelda rocket from the blue line screamed its way past the Slough goalie. Jets were rocking at this time as Phoenix piled wave upon wave of attacking hockey at the visitors’ defence. They pulled another goal back with 11 minutes left with Slava Koulikov scoring. With Phoenix now within two goals, the pressure increased on the Jets’ rearguard. However they regrouped and, despite Phoenix pulling Steve Fone for the extra skater as Jets sat out a delay of game penalty, they held out for a 5-3 win.
Coach Tony Hand said after the game: “I was disappointed with the second period. We looked tired and lost discipline a bit and lost some bad goals. We looked very tired but credit to Slough, they played very well. I changed things a bit in the third and thought we played much better and gave them a bit of a fright. We need to find some consistency in our play to put a run together.”