Phoenix draw first blood in the defence of EPL title

Sunday, 14th September 2014

Bracknell Bees 1 - Manchester Phoenix 3

Phoenix scorers: Robin Kovar, Michal Psurny and Shaun Thompson.

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron”, Manchester Phoenix, made the long trip to Berkshire to face Bracknell Bees in the first league game of the new season.

With Bracknell having had a good pre-season, Coach Hand knew this was not going to be an easy road trip.

Phoenix started with new acquisition Declan Ryan in net and league debuts for him, Shaun Thompson and Johan Burlin. Adam Walker also iced for his first league appearance for a few years after his return to the club.

Phoenix started strongly and tested Alex Mettam in the Bees’ goal early on and when Lewis Turner went to the box on a tripping minor, they took the lead. Robin Kovar scored on 13.09 with an assist given to Johan Burlin. Confident Phoenix doubled their lead 4 minutes later when last season’s top scorer, Michal Psurny, hit his first of the season, assisted by James Archer and Tony Hand.

Phoenix did not have it all their own way as the home side gave as good as they got in the first period and Ryan had to be smart on a couple of occasions to keep the Bees at bay. The period ended with Phoenix keeping their 2-0 lead and starting the second period on four on four with Johan Burlin and Scott Spearing sitting out a 2 minute delay of game after a disagreement.

Phoenix gained a man advantage just 13 seconds into the second period when Ryan Watt was sent to the penalty box on a hooking call but Bees hit back with a neat short-handed goal from new import Radek Hubacek to make the score 2-1.  With just under 5 minutes left in the second period, Phoenix regained their two-goal advantage when ex Bee Shaun Thompson made it 3-1 with assists going to Michal Psurny and Frantisek Bakrlik. Phoenix dominated the second period and were well worth their two goal lead as the teams took their second cup of tea.

The third was a pretty tame affair with both teams having chances but the Phoenix rearguard stayed solid and Phoenix had their first two points in the bag.

Coach Hand said after the game:

“This was always going to be a tough opening fixture. It is never easy in Bracknell.  I thought the lads played well and kept to the game plan. Now it is back home for another tricky fixture against Swindon where we will obviously look to add another two points.”

Sunday’s game against the Swindon Wildcats at the Ice Dome faces off at the usual time of 17:30.