Manchester Phoenix 6 - Guildford Flames 1
Phoenix scorers: Michal Psurny x 2, Andy McKinney, Luke Boothroyd, Ondrej Pozivil and Joachim Flaten
J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix sent league leaders Guildford Flames home with their tail between their legs with an outstanding performance on Saturday night at the Dome.
Phoenix were back to full strength for the first time in ages with giant defender Robert Schnabel returning from injury. Flames were missing Melicherik.
The game started at a furious pace with both teams testing the netminders early doors. Stephen Fone continued his return to top form with an amazing glove save from Plant that had the Guildford man shaking his head in disbelief. Both teams were flinging huge checks and Andrew Sharp fell foul of referee Pering after 12.32, sitting out a 2 minute boarding call. Flames saw off the penalty but went behind on 14.54 with a sweet Andy McKinney goal.
He was in the right place at the right time to send the puck into the top corner of the net with Flames’ goalie Mark Lee nowhere. Both teams had chances to add to the scoring but the period ended 1-0 to Phoenix with the home side having to start the second period a man down, Tony Hand being penalised for a hook with 10 seconds left of the first.
Phoenix comfortably killed the penalty and, a minute after returning to full strength, doubled their lead. Michal Psurny picked the puck from a Flames defender and, from an impossible angle on the left wing, sent the puck high over Lee’s shoulder for 2-0. Jez Lundin went to the penalty box on 29.57 on a slashing call and Phoenix took full advantage to make it 3-0.
A superb power play move, that had the Flames’ rearguard all over the place, found Tony Hand in his office behind the net from where he hit a pinpoint pass to Luke Boothroyd, on the hash marks, who fired high and handsome over Lee’s shoulder. Three minutes later it was 4-0 as another play from behind the net found a free Phoenix player. This time Michal Psurny saw Ondrej Pozivil unmarked and the d-man tucked the puck into the net. That was that for Flames’ goaltender Mark Lee who was replaced by James Hadfield. The period ended with no further scoring, Phoenix well on top and Stephen Fone making two outstanding saves to keep his net intact.
Guildford came out strong in the third to try and rescue some pride but 40 seconds later it was 5-0 to the home side. Joachim Flaten found Michal Psurny with a neat centre pass, the Czech forward tipping the puck past Hadfield for his second goal of the evening. David Longstaff then sat out a 2 minute high sticks penalty and a rampant Phoenix again punished the Flames. The power play unit was in full flow and when Tony Hand found Joachim Flaten all on his own the latter drilled the puck low past the netminder for a massive 6-0 lead. Stephen Fone’s deserved shut out was harshly broken on 45.37 when a Rick Skene shot hit two home sticks to flash past the netminder who was already set for the initial shot. The game slowed down after this with both teams looking tired and Phoenix saw the game out for an outstanding win over the league champions from last season.
Michal Psurny was awarded man of the match for Phoenix for a superb 2 goal and 3 assist performance, however the award could have gone to any of the team for a great performance in front of the Phoenix faithful.
Two points clawed back at the top of the table and Phoenix travel to Telford for their next game, looking for a 4 point weekend but very mindful of the Tigers’ penchant for spoiling the Phoenix party.