Swindon Wildcats 6 - Manchester Phoenix 3

Saturday, 3rd March 2012

Phoenix scorers: Tom Duggan, Ladislav Harabin, Martin Cingel.

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix travelled to Wiltshire to take on the local Wildcats. Phoenix were still without Tony Hand and Slava Koulikov. Ryan Johnson was missing due to suspension.

After a bright start, Phoenix found themselves in penalty trouble as Harabin and Duggan went to the box in quick succession. Phoenix killed the first penalty but went behind on 4.19 while still a man short. Nicky Watt found himself free to score, assisted by Jonas Hoog and Aaron Nell. Things got worse for the visitors just over a minute later when Leigh Richardson was allowed to skate the length of the ice and dropped a pass to Nell on the right to score. Phoenix were struggling to get their passing game going and Stephen Fone had to be alert to stop them going further behind. As the period wound down, an error by Swindlehurst allowed Tom Duggan to squeeze the puck between Tom Murdy’s pad and the post to make it 2-1. Ladzi Harabin was given an assist on the goal. End of the first period, 2-1 to the Wildcats.

Phoenix needed to come out and stamp their authority on the game at the start of the second period but it was the home side who found the net first. With just 58 seconds gone, Fone lost sight of a shot and it fell to Jonas Hoog to make the score 3-1. It was Swindon’s turn to fall foul of the referee in the second penalty as they took 4 minor penalties in the first 10 minutes of the period. Phoenix finally took advantage of the extra man on the 4th powerplay when Ladzi Harabin scored with a ripper from the blue line. Assists went to Juraj Faith and Luke Boothroyd. The Wildcats scored a fourth goal on 36.55 when a suspiciously offside looking Pinc found the net. Despite outshooting their opponents 16-10, Phoenix went to the second break 4-2 down.

Phoenix pulled a goal back on 45.16 when Martin Cingel took a pass to score on yet another powerplay. Once again, Swindon made it a two goal margin when Taylor took advantage of a Phoenix error in defence, 5-3 to the Wildcats after 47.24. Another penalty call by Mr Decaux saw a player from each side sit out 2 minutes. Phoenix tried to get themselves back on terms but the game slipped away from them when Tom Duggan was given a harsh 10 minute misconduct quickly followed by a 10 minute call on Juraj Faith. Aaron Nell completed the scoring on 57.49 with another powerplay marker as Luke Boothroyd sat out a slashing minor.

Tom Duggan’s tireless display rightly earned him the Man of the Match award but Phoenix will want to put this game in the drawer and come out ready for revenge on Sunday evening.