Bison hoodoo continues as Phoenix slip up

Friday, 5th December 2003

Despite outshooting their visitors 45 to 33 last night, the Manchester Phoenix failed to find the net in what coach Rick Brebant described as a “very disappointing performance at home after a month on the road,” handing Basingstoke their second win in the MEN Arena this season.

Giving home debuts to Mikko Niemi, Mika Skytta and Aaron Davies, it was the Phoenix who were pushed back in a first period controlled by the Basingstoke team who lost Matt Reid to injury late in the session. Phoenix hit back hard in the second period but came up against Bison netminder Curtis Cruickshank in superb form. Basingstoke eventually broke the deadlock scoring the only goal of the game in the 48th minute as a defensive error allowed Martin Filip to lift the puck over the spread-eagled body of Jayme Platt into the roof of the net.

Brebant noted, “I was very disappointed in certain areas of our game and some of my players. Hockey is a tough game and sometimes players need to pay a price to score the goals needed to win games. Right now, some of my guys don’t appear willing to pay that price. Some need to go home and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror ahead of Sunday.”

Brebant hinted there might be some changes in positional play on Sunday when the Phoenix travel to Coventry. “I’ll watch some video footage on Saturday, but I am already thinking of changing some of my line combinations around to try and shake things up a little. We worked on a lot of things this week in practise and that makes tonight even more disappointing.”

On the plus side Brebant added, “My younger players did well again tonight, they all got good ice time and they continue to work hard and stick to the game plan. Marc Lovell and Jason Hewitt in particular had good games again and I think they will earn more and more ice time with that kind of commitment and effort level.”