Phoenix humbled as Blaze hit double figures

Monday, 8th December 2003

Manchester Phoenix head coach Rick Brebant declared himself “humilitated and totally embarrassed,” after watching his side disintegrate against Coventry on Sunday night.

“I told my guys on Friday that a four-point weekend would keep us in touch with the leaders,” he added, “and we promptly go out and fail to score in two straight games. Before this weekend, we had the meanest defensive record in the Elite League – that just got shot to bits.”

Coventry tore into the Phoenix right from the first face-off on Sunday and were three goals up inside seven minutes forcing Brebant to replace Jayme Platt in goal with Dave Clancy. The young goalie performed heroically for 35 minutes allowing just one goal before the floodgates opened and the home side rattled seven goals past him in the third period. Great Britain international Ashley Tait scored a hat trick while Steve Gallace and Hilton Ruggles both helped themselves to a brace of goals apiece.

Brebant fumed afterwards, “I feel humiliated and totally embarrassed by some of our players tonight. I cannot blame the younger players, I thought Clancy was excellent and so too were Marc Lovell and Jason Hewitt. Mark Thomas got more ice time tonight than he has recently and he did exceptionally well given his move back on defence. These young players are faultless tonight, they showed the kind of commitment and leadership that I expect to see from my senior players.”

The angry Phoenix coach added, “These players had better start shaping up and fast. A month ago, we were the form team in this league and nobody wanted to play us. Now we look like the chumps and teams can’t wait to play us – that has to change and it better change fast or I’ll be making changes. I said after Friday that some of them needed to look in the mirror, some of them now need x-rays to see if they have a heart.”