Milton Keynes Lightning 1 - Manchester Phoenix 3
Phoenix Scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik, James Archer and Tony Hand
J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix maintained their unbeaten status in the English Premier Ice Hockey League with a hard working 3-1 win against Milton Keynes Lightning.
Phoenix were at full strength for this tough encounter at the Coventry Skydome, temporary home of the Milton Keynes Lightning, and started brightly, forcing a good save from Stephen Wall in the Lightning goal. The early chances fell to Lightning and Leigh Jamieson should have put his side ahead with only 4 minutes on the clock. Phoenix killed a tripping penalty on Joe Graham and took the lead with 8.22 gone. Robin Kovar found Frankie Bakrlik free and his shot hit Wall, fell to the ice and trickled into the net. Despite having to defend a couple of powerplays, the MK defence stayed intact and the period ended with the visitors leading 1-0.
The start of the second period saw a plethora of penalties awarded by referee Dan Boardman in the first 5 minutes. Both netminders were pulling out fine saves, the best of which came from Stephen Fone in the Phoenix goal when he stonewalled a 3 on 1 MK attack to keep his side in the lead on 25.16. Two minutes later Phoenix doubled their lead with a James Archer goal. Michal Psurny found Archer free in front of goal and the British forward made no mistake with a crisp shot into the net. With 28.40 gone in the match, Richard Bentham took an enforced 10 minute rest when he complained too loudly to the referee about the lack of an interference call on him. Phoenix increased their lead to 3-0 when Tony Hand took a lovely pass from Jacob Corson-Heron to fire the puck high past Stephen Wall on 34.25. Lightning replied almost immediately with a Janne Jokila goal, assisted by Lewis Christie. With 6 minutes left on the period, Leigh Jamieson was penalised for boarding and Robin Kovar, looking dazed and hunting around on the ice for his helmet, was given a 2 minute illegal equipment call for not leaving the ice after losing said helmet. The period finished with no further scoring and Phoenix leading 3-1.
Not a lot to report on the third period as Phoenix kept possession and did not allow MK to make any real threat on their goal. Final score 3-1 to Phoenix.
Lewis Clifford, Milton Keynes assistant coach said after the game:
“Phoenix are a good side and took their chances well. We had chances of our own, especially early in the game, and if we had taken them things might have been different.”
Phoenix player/coach Tony Hand commented:
“I thought this was a solid team performance by us. Lightning are always tough opposition but we created chances all night and came away with a good win.”