Phoenix sting the Vipers

Thursday, 20th November 2003

An impressive 'Finnish' on Wednesday evening propelled the visiting Phoenix to a 5-3 decision over Findus British National League's Newcastle Vipers at Telewest Arena.

The exhibition match marked the second start for former Flintshire Freeze goalie Dave Clancy, who turned away 22 of the 25 shots. "He made some key saves throughout the game and handled himself very well," said Phoenix head coach Rick Brebant. "He's showing he can handle the pressure when he's called on to play."

With newly-signed defenceman Mikko Niemi still suffering from a shoulder strain he suffered in the 3-1 win in Basingstoke last Saturday, the Phoenix relied on its two other Finns, Petteri Lotila and newcomer Mika Skytta, for some late-game scoring.

After a back-and-forth battle through much of the first and second periods, the Finnish duo slipped two strikes past fellow Finn and Viper netminder, Tommi Satosaari, in the late minutes of the third period to put the game out of reach.

For Phoenix fans, the emergence of Skytta as a genuine offensive threat is reason enough to smile. "It's going to take a little more time for (Skytta) to fit in perfectly, but I guarantee you're going to see more from this boy," assures Brebant.

Twenty-year-old local product, Aaron Davies, opened the scoring with his first goal as a member of the Phoenix, while forward David Kozier found the back of the net a short time later in the first period. Mike Morin potted a power play goal in the second frame to up the score to 3-2.

Manchester now looks forward to a challenging away weekend against Nottingham on Saturday and Sheffield on Sunday.