Valiant Phoenix effort against the Flames

Thursday, 31st January 2013

Guildford Flames 6 - Manchester Phoenix 4

Phoenix scorers: James Archer x 2, Robert Schnabel and Tony Hand.

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix made the long journey down to the Spectrum to face the Guildford Flames in the EPL Cup Semi Final 1st leg.

Phoenix were without Stephen Fone, Joachim Flaten and James Neil for the game. Guildford chose to leave out Nathan Rempel for Milos Melicherik.

The game was delayed for 30 minutes as the home side scrambled around to find officials to do the game. Stefan Hogarth answered the call at very short notice and donned the arm bands.

Guildford started strongly, as they always do at home, and David Longstaff gave them the lead after just 91 seconds. They then found themselves in penalty trouble as Andrew Hemmings and Curtis Huppe went to the box on cross checking and tripping minors in the first five minutes. It took Phoenix just 14 seconds of the two-man advantage to equalise as James Archer scored, assisted by Tony Hand and Ondrej Pozivil. End to end play ensued with Guildford looking dangerous and they took the lead again on 10.33 with a Rick Plant goal, assisted by Curtis Huppe. They doubled the lead just 3 minutes later when Milos Melicherik scored and had Phoenix on the back foot. However, the visitors were always looking dangerous and pulled a goal back with a Robert Schnabel rocket from the blue line to make it 3-2. Phoenix’s second powerplay goal of the evening. There was still time for an fourth Flames goal on 17.16 with David Longstaff’s second of the night assisted by Branislav Kvetan.  The period ended with Phoenix striving for another goal but the buzzer went and the home side had a 4-2 lead to take to the locker room.

Phoenix upped their game in the second period and were finding gaps in the Flames’ rearguard but it was David Savage who took advantage on the power play after 22.31 as Robert Schnabel sat out a slashing minor. Player coach Tony Hand then scored the goal of the game as he meandered through a static Guildford defence to bring a goal back at the game’s half way point. James Archer scored his second of the night 3 minutes later with another powerplay goal, assisted by Andy McKinney to make it a one goal game at 5-4. Flames were rattled and Phoenix had their best spell of the evening. However, Flames scored a sixth goal with 26 seconds left in the period with Jozef Kohut credited with the goal on 37.16. The period ended with Phoenix losing Robert Schnabel on a hooking call and he picked up a 10 minute misconduct at the same time.

The third was another end to end affair with a tiring Phoenix still taking the game to the Flames. The better of the chances were falling to the Phoenix forwards, who were looking to peg another goal back. The period ended with Phoenix outshooting the Flames 14-7 and will now bring the Flames back to the Dome with a two goal deficit.

A fantastic effort from a very short benched Phoenix, who had only 12 outskaters and Jorge El-Hage in goal against a full Flames squad. Every man did their bit for the cause and a pleased player-coach Tony Hand had this to say after the match:

“I thought the lads worked their socks off all evening tonight. To go into such a crucial match so short of players and show the work ethic they did tonight made me proud. We are definitely still in this tie and will again give it our all next month in the second leg at home.”

Tom Duggan at a face-off

Tom Duggan Faces-Off
(Image: Räi Pekkänen)

Jorge El-Hage in net, Robert Schnabel stands guard

Robert Schnabel Stands On Guards Infront Of Jorge El-Hage
(Image: Räi Pekkänen)

Ondrej Pozivil takes the puck into the defensive zone of the Flames

Ondrej Pozivil takes charge of the puck, and takes it into Guildford's defensive zone
(Image: Räi Pekkänen)

Manchester Phoenix Community Sports Foundation