Phoenix bring the points back over the Penines

Saturday, 1st March 2014

Sheffield Steeldogs 2 - Manchester Phoenix 3

Phoenix Scorers: Michal Psurny, Robin Kovar and Luke Boothroyd

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix completed the league series against bitter rivals Sheffield Steeldogs with a 3-2 road win and a 4-2 overall win in the series. Phoenix were again missing Liam Chong and the Dogs were without Lewis Bell.

The first period was played at a good pace by both sides and Greg Wood had the first chance of the match but he fired into Stephen Fone’s pads. Frankie Bakrlik had a shot from the blue line saved by Sedlar before Phoenix hit penalty trouble around the 12 minute mark. Robin Kovar was sitting out a tripping call when Robert Schnabel was dispatched on a hooking minor. Phoenix comfortably saw out the long penalty and regained the initiative with a great chance from Tony Hand. The Dogs took the lead on 17.12 when a Korhon shot was padded out front by Fone and Ben Morgan was on the spot to place the puck wide of the netminder for 1-0. No further scoring ensued in the first period and the Dogs took their one goal lead into the break.

Phoenix took control of the early stages of the second period and got their reward after 23.12 with a power play goal. Robin Kovar released Tony Hand in space on the right and with the Phoenix crowd screaming at him to shoot, he calmly split the Dogs’ defence with a pass to Michal Psurny who wristed a beaut past Sedlar for the equaliser. Both sides were creating chances and the Dogs regained the lead with just less than 3 minutes left. Korhon shot at Fone and the resultant rebound was swept home by Andy Hirst. At the end of 40 minutes of end to end hockey, the home side took a narrow advantage into the final chapter.

Phoenix came out strong in the third and pinned the Steeldogs back in their own zone for long periods. Resolute defending by the home side, limited quality chances for the visitors and the Dogs slowly got themselves back into the game with chances for Korhon on a 2 on 1 break and a good powerplay chance went begging for the sniper shortly afterwards. A deserved equaliser came on 49.17 with Robin Kovar all alone at the back post to take an Andy McKinney pass to pick his spot for 2-2. The Phoenix power play unit came up trumps with just 46 seconds left on the clock after a frantic scramble in front of Sedlar’s net resulted in Phoenix skipper Luke Boothroyd being first to react to poke home the winner. Steeldogs’ Ben Morgan was more than a tad incensed that the goal was given and he picked up a 10 minute abuse penalty for his troubles. Steeldogs pulled their netminder in the final stages to try and force the equaliser but it was Phoenix who put the puck in the empty net with 5 seconds left. However a coming together by Andre Payette and Robert Schnabel resulted in a penalty call, both players went to the box and the goal was washed out.

Phoenix will be well pleased with the road win and a delighted Tony Hand said after the game:

“I thought we played well tonight and battled hard. Andre (Payette) has his team well organised and are in good form. I must say a big thank you to the Phoenix fans tonight. They were tremendous and it is a great boost to see so many travel on a Friday night to support the team.”