Bison herd the Phoenix again

Sunday, 20th January 2013

Basingstoke Bison 3 -  Manchester Phoenix 1

Phoenix scorer: Luke Boothroyd

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix made the long journey back from Hampshire on Saturday night disappointed not to have taken something from the game.

Phoenix were at full strength and Bison added British forward Nicky Watt to their already formidable squad.

It was the visitors who made the best start to the match, pinning Bison in their own zone for most of the first 5 minutes. However, the Basingstoke outfit are fast-breaking and had two good chances to take the lead half way through the period. Joe Miller broke free and pinged the bar when it looked easier to score and on 12 minutes Joe Rand was clean through on another breakaway only to be denied by Stephen Fone. Early Phoenix pressure finally paid off on 15.26 with a superb Luke Boothroyd shot from the point. Michal Psurny was awarded an assist for his excellent work chasing a lost cause down to the back boards and finding Boothroyd on the point. Basingstoke were rattled a bit and were happy to see the first buzzer in order to get to the dressing room to regroup.

Regroup they most certainly did as they took the game to Phoenix with half a period of tremendous pressure. Stephen Fone made a couple of good saves and the Phoenix defence worked their socks off to keep the eager Bison forwards at bay. The deserved equaliser came on 35.02 just after Phoenix killed a powerplay. Greg Owen, on the ice after his penalty, linked up with Joe Greener who made a short pass to player coach Doug Sheppard to come from behind the goal and beat Fone between his right pad and the post. With just 4 minutes of the period left and Phoenix defending resolutely, they fell foul of the referees and went on a three on five penalty kill. Bison took the lead with just one second left on the first penalty with Joe Greener banking the puck in off Fone’s pads as he slid across his goal. The Phoenix goalie was very slow getting up after the goal and many Phoenix fans wondered if he had a recurrence of the groin injury he suffered a few weeks back. End of the second and Bison 2-1 up.

The third period was a good end to end hockey game with both teams having chances to win the game. It was the home side who scored the all important next goal when ex Phoenix forward Joe Millar picked the puck in the corner, waltzed around one d-man and back-handed the puck past the despairing Fone. That was the killer blow for a Phoenix team who looked the better side for periods of the game but just could not find a way past Stevie Lyle and his defenders for the fifth time this season.

A disappointing result but a performance that many positives can be taken from. The result puts Bison back on top of the league but with only a three point lead over Phoenix with just under a third of the season to go.

Phoenix take on Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday evening at the Dome with the usual 1730hrs face off.