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Manchester Phoenix 3 - Bracknell Bees 2 (after penalty shots)
Phoenix scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik and James Archer
J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix got back to winning ways after three defeats in a row with a penalty shot win over the Bees.
The result was a reverse of Saturday’s result in Bracknell when the home side also won 3-2 after penalty shots.
Phoenix put pressure on the Bees from the start and only solid forechecking and good netminding kept Phoenix from scoring early in the game. They did take the lead on 7.45 with a powerplay goal from Frankie Bakrlik. He was free on the right when Tony Hand found him with a pinpoint pass and the big forward made no mistake, firing the puck past a screened Alex Mettam. Second assist was awarded to Michal Psurny. Phoenix were looking to head to the break with a slender lead but coughed up an equaliser with just 42 seconds left. It was Grant Rounding who scored with assists from Kamil Tvrdek and Shaun Thompson. The period ended with Phoenix well on top, outshooting their guests 15-8 but the score level at 1-1.
The second period was similar to the first with Phoenix dominating but Bracknell very dangerous on the break. Phoenix got the go-ahead goal on 38.26. Luke Boothroyd played the puck out of defence to Robin Kovar who raced into the zone and found James Archer free on the left. The British forward made no mistake with a one timer that flashed past Mettam for 2-1. There was no further scoring in the period and Phoenix took a slender lead to the break.
Into the third period of a thrilling game and Phoenix tried so hard to score an insurance goal but it was the resilient Bees who hit an equaliser for the second time of the evening on the power play at 45.21. Phoenix went a man down to a rather soft boarding call on Andrew McKinney and Bees scored straight from the face off through Sam Oakford from Rob Lamey. Phoenix pressed hard for the game winner but Bees held on for a deserved point.
Overtime came and went with the home side still dominant but unable to beat Alex Mettam in the 5 minute extra period and the game between the closely matched sides went to penalty shots for the second successive evening.
The penalty shoot out was thrilling with both netminders making crucial saves for their clubs. The winning penalty came when Phoenix’s seventh shooter, Robert Schnabel, blasted the puck past Mettam, leaving Grant Rounding to miss his shot and the extra point went to Phoenix.