Huge win in Telford for Phoenix

Monday, 10th March 2014

Telford Tigers 4 - Manchester Phoenix 5.

Phoenix Scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik x 2, James Archer, Richard Bentham, Andrew McKinney.

J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix took a huge step towards the EPL title with a thrilling 5-4 win against up and coming Telford Tigers.

In front of a huge crowd at Telford Ice Rink Phoenix, playing in their 6th game in 10 days, battled all night to secure two vital points.They took the lead on 7.09 with a classic Phoenix goal. Michal Psurny passed to Tony Hand, who found James Archer at the back post and he whipped the puck past the stranded Declan Ryan in the Telford net. A fairly even first period saw Telford equalise on 19.14 with a delayed penalty goal from Marek Misukovic, assisted by Timo Kuuluvainen and Michal Pavlu. End of the first, 1-1.

Phoenix suffered a blow early in the second period when Robert Schnabel left the ice, injured, and did not return for the rest of the match.Six minutes into the period, Phoenix took the lead again with an opportunist goal. Telford netminder Ryan went behind the net to clear the puck, not realising Jacob Heron was chasing him down. The diminutive forward robbed the keeper and played the puck out front for the onrushing Richard Bentham to blast it into the empty net. 2-1 Phoenix after 26.28. Telford achieved parity for the second time 3 minutes later as ex Phoenix forward Adam Walker broke out and beat Stephen Fone for 2-2. Timed at 32.19, the goal was assisted by Timu Kuuluvainen. Phoenix again took the initiative on 36.59 with a delayed penalty goal from Frankie Bakrlik, assisted by Joe Graham and James Neil, only to find themselves even once again as the second period drew to a close. 39.33 was showing on the clock when Scott McKenzie scored, assisted by Dan Davies and Joe Miller. 40 minutes of end to end hockey and the teams could not be separated with the score at 3-3.
The Phoenix power play unit bounced into action on 42.44 with another go-ahead goal. Andrew McKinney scored with assists to Robin Kovar and Tony Hand. The game swung from end to end and Telford hit the cross bar before Phoenix scored what is commonly known as an insurance goal on 47.35. Once again it was the power play unit that were successful as in-form Frankie Bakrlik hit his second of the night. Tony Hand was awarded his third assist of the game. 5-3 to Phoenix with just over 12 minutes to go. One thing everybody knows about Telford Tigers is that they never lie down. The home side pulled a goal back on 51 minutes with a power play goal of their own as Frankie Bakrlik sat out a strange hooking call. Richard Plant was the scorer, assisted by Michal Pavlu and Joe Miller. Tigers threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Phoenix defence but the visitors stood tall and kept them out to record a fine victory and two vital points.
Phoenix now have a 4 point lead over their nearest rivals Basingstoke Bison, who come to the Ice Dome next Sunday in what is seen by many as a championship decider.

Press Officer Jim Piper caught up with MD Neil Morris after the game.

Neil commented:

“The energy levels of the team were amazing after the schedule we have had. 6 games in 10 days completed and the team chased everything all night tonight.  The enthusiasm and will to win is what makes this team great. Now we will have a few days off then focus on next weekend. We have a hard game in Swindon on Saturday. They are never an easy team to play on their own ice. Then the big one on Sunday. Let’s fill the rink and show just what we think of this bunch of lads who are giving their all for the cause. I am so proud of them and the fans.”