Phoenix weekend: A trip to Berkshire and another local derby

Thursday, 7th November 2013

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix take on Slough Jets on Saturday and return to the dome for another fixture against rivals Sheffield Steeldogs.

Jets’ coach Slava Koulikov has made some changes since their 12-2 drubbing last time the two teams met. Netminder Gregg Rockman, defender Tomas Fojtik and forward Ryan Watt have all been released to shake things up a bit. British forward Alan Lack has joined from Invicta Dynamos and netminder Kamil Jarina , a 37 year old from the Czech Republic, who has appeared in the top league in his country has also joined the Jets’ ranks.

They have had mixed results since the changes but are slowly improving. Defence appears still to be a bit of a problem, illustrated last week when they let slip a 3-0 lead over Milton Keynes Lightning. However, despite Phoenix having a good record against the Jets recently, they are formidable opponents and a game at the Hangar cannot be taken lightly. Imports Darius Pliskauskas and Ales Padelek are their top scorers with 14 and 11 goals respectively and they are well supported by ex Phoenix forward Ciaran Long who has 9 goals to his name so far this season.  Another tough game with no quarter given is expected on Saturday night.

Sunday will see the Steeldogs visit for the second time this season and they will be determined to make sure they are not on the end of another 11-2 defeat. The teams met last weekend in Sheffield in an end to end attacking game of hockey with Phoenix taking the points with a 5-3 win. Steeldogs’ netminder Dalibor Sedlar is believed to be close to returning to the side although Brad Day has performed admirably between the pipes. The Dogs have also brought in forward Marius Jakubik from Poland and he is finding his feet quickly. Lewis Bell, Greg Chambers and Ben Morgan have returned to the team, making them a team to watch.  Top points scorer is Lubomir Korhon with 14 goals and 15 assists so far this season.

Coach Hand said of the upcoming weekend:

“Slough are improving and will be a hard team to beat as always. We will go down there fully focussed and ready for a tough game. Sheffield on Sunday will be gunning for revenge after last week’s game. We will have to match their energy to get the result. It will, as I say every week be another tough game.”

It will be another tough couple of games for Phoenix, who got back to winning ways last weekend with two wins, and who, as always, will be looking for the points to keep up their league challenge.