Bracknell Bees 3 - Manchester Phoenix 5

Saturday, 25th February 2012

Phoenix scorers: Tom Duggan, Ciaran Long, Juraj Faith, Luke Boothroyd and James Archer

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix made their final trip of the season to Royal Berkshire to take on the Bracknell Bees. Bees were without Adam Lack and Tony Hand was still behind the bench and not icing.

The first five minutes were very scrappy with both teams struggling to control the puck. The Bees were first to score when Michael Bowman reacted first to a Steve Fone rebound to send the puck into the net. Goal was timed at 5.51. Phoenix were still struggling to take charge of the game but found themselves level after 14.21. Stephen Wallace and James Archer combined to free Tom Duggan on the left and he lifted the puck high over Carl Ambler’s right shoulder. Both teams had hit the pipes before the equaliser and it was Phoenix who finished the period on the offence.

Phoenix came out in the second meaning business and hit the pipework after just 15 seconds. Ex-Phoenix defender Carl Graham then picked up 10-minute misconduct for... no idea, and neither did anybody else in the rink. Phoenix took the lead on 32.03 with a Ciaran Long goal, assisted by Josh Ward and doubled the advantage 48 seconds later with a wonder strike from Juraj Faith. He took a pass from Martin Cingel, dragged the puck back and in one movement sent it flashing past Carl Ambler. Bees got themselves back into the game on 34.46 with a neat strike by Matt Foord but Phoenix went to the second break with a 4-2 lead when Captain Fantastic Luke Boothroyd scored his first of the season on 38.31. A good period for Phoenix who out-shot the home side 16-10.

Phoenix made the game safe on 44.01 with a fifth goal of the night. Tom Duggan broke down the right and saw Ambler save the shot. Tom then found James Archer who hit the net from the right side . Bracknell pulled one back when a five man breakaway (four of them looking suspiciously offside) resulted in Brad Watchorn netting for 5-3. Phoenix then saw the game out despite losing Slava Koulikov in the last 20 seconds to a shocking trip by Carl Graham.

In the end, a comfortable win for Phoenix who always seemed to have enough in the tank to stay ahead. Man of the match for Phoenix went to Stephen Wallace.

Coach Hand said after the game; “I thought we started slowly but worked our way into the game and scored some nice goals. We took the game to them in the second period but Foney still had to make some big saves. Very pleased with the two points.”