Phoenix bow out of playoffs

Saturday, 3rd April 2004

After making a tremendous effort, the Manchester Phoenix finally bowed out of the 2004 playoffs, losing 6-1 to the Nottingham Panthers at the National Ice Centre.

Taking part in the second of the days semi-finals, the Phoenix were give the ideal start when captain George Awada fired Manchester ahead just 61 seconds into the game. However, the Panthers began to move into gear and equalised when John Craighead scored the first of his hat-trick at 4.54 to bring Nottingham level. A tightly contested game ended the first period tied at 1, but with Manchester missing Mark Bultje and then Mika Skytta, the superior fire- and man-power turned the game in Nottinghams favour. David Clarke put them ahead at 29.18 before setting up David Struch to make it 3-1 at 34.44.

Three quick goals at the start of the third ended the contest, Mark Cadotte scoring at 41.24 and then a Craighead double (43.18, 45.26) to end the Phoenix hopes. However, the travelling Phoenix fans were not going down without a fight, as they made a wonderful amount of noise as the season closed.