Peterborough Phantoms 5 - Manchester Phoenix 4 (OT)

Saturday, 31st March 2012

Manchester Phoenix scorers: Ciaran Long x2, Juraj Faith and Martin Cingel

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix travelled down to Peterborough for their final away league game against the Peterborough Phantoms.

Manchester were still without Tony Hand and Peterborough welcomed back Luke Ferrara. With Peterborough desperate for points to make the play offs and Phoenix fighting to secure second place, it was always going to be a tough game for both sides.

The match started at a furious pace with some hard hits around the boards. Referee Evans called Slava Koulikov on a holding penalty after 1.32 but the Phoenix rearguard was hardly troubled. Chances fell to both sides but the quality ones were aimed at King in the Phantoms goal who made a couple of good glove saves. The home side took the lead on 13.02 when a defensive turnover allowed James Ferrara to find Tom Carlon free by Stephen Fone’s right hand post and the big forward made no mistake. Phoenix continued to press hard but Phantoms were looking dangerous on the break and Fone had to be alert on a couple of occasions to sweep the puck clear. Phantoms doubled their lead on 19.15 with a goal from Andrej Lauko, assisted by Tom Carlon and Jeff Glowa. Shots on goal at the end of the first period were 13-10 in favour of the home side and they took the two goal lead to the first break.

Peterborough appeared to sit back on their lead early in the second period and Phoenix took the game to them, again creating the better of the chances. The visitors pulled a goal back on 26.06 when Ciaran Long was in the right place at the right time to force the puck home, top shelf. Phantoms woke up after that and Stephen Fone had to be alert and brought off two great saves to keep the game to a one goal margin. On 34.42 it was the Phantoms who made a mistake in defence and Juraj Faith took full advantage to equalise. Slava Koulikov was awarded an assist on the goal.

Phantoms pressed hard to get a grip on the game for the rest of the period but Fone stood tall and the teams went to the second break even at 2-2. Shots on goal for the second period were 12-9 in favour of Phoenix giving a total of 22 -22 after 40 minutes.

The third period was like a game seven play-off with both teams going for the win. Andrej Lauko put the home side 3-2 up on 44.53 assisted by Randall and James Ferrara. Phoenix came back with a strange goal. Ciaran Long hit a speculative shot on net and it looped up and into the net off the crossbar. The large Phoenix fan following was on its feet on 57.02 when a great break out of defence was finished off by Martin Cingel. Phantoms’ season looked over until Maris Ziedins found the puck in traffic in front of goal and forced it past Fone for the equaliser.

Into overtime and end to end four on four play until 70 seconds from the end when Luke Ferrara celebrated his return to the side with the winning goal on 63.10.

Coach Hand said after the game: “It was good to come back from two goals down to take a point so it was a good result for us. Losing Ladzi for the third period also hit us hard, and I cannot fault the lads' effort tonight. There is all to play for tomorrow with Phantoms needing a win and we want a point for second place.”

Both teams will resume combat tomorrow night in Altrincham where Phantoms will look to find the points to take them to the quarter finals. Phoenix, on the other hand, will want to secure second spot.