Wildcats defeat injury-hit Phoenix

Sunday, 7th December 2014

Swindon Wildcats 4 - Manchester Phoenix 2

Phoenix scorers: Tony Hand and Frantisek Bakrlik

J Davidison sponsored Manchester Phoenix travelled to Swindon minus three players on Saturday. Stephen Fone and Jack Watkins are still recovering from injury and Bobby Chamberlain is away on GB duty with the Under 20 side.

Phoenix made a bright start and scored with a power play goal with 1.37 on the clock. Tony Hand was the first to react to a rebound off a Robin Kovar shot and scored at the back post. Second assist went to Frankie Bakrlik. Phoenix were caught on the break just 62 seconds later as Aaron Nell scored the equaliser. The visitors were creating most of the chances and after Finlinson was penalised 2 plus 10 for a check from behind and Henri Sandvik sat out a boarding minor, Frankie Bakrlik hit Phoenix’s second goal. Michal Psurny and Tony Hand worked to set up the big striker for a shot from the blue line that found its way through traffic and past Stevie Lyle in the Wildcats’ net. The teams went to the first break with Phoenix deservedly holding the 2-1 advantage.

Swindon moved up a couple of gears in the second period and put Phoenix under a lot of pressure. Things took a turn for the worst after half an hour when Frankie Bakrlik was given a match penalty (later downgraded to a game penalty) for high sticks. It was backs to the wall for the already short-benched visitors for the rest of the period but resolute defending and good netminding by Declan Ryan kept the period scoreless and Phoenix went for a hard earned break still leading 2-1.

The beginning and the end of the third period proved crucial to the eventual result as Swindon pressure told on the beleaguered Phoenix. With 41.04 on the clock, Adam Harding found Jonas Hoog free to beat Ryan and even up the score at 2-2. Phoenix were looking good for a point after sustaining tremendous pressure but fell to an unlucky goal with less than three minutes left. The aforementioned Harding turned goalscorer to find the net with a low shot through a screen of players. Phoenix pulled their netminder but coughed up an empty net goal on 59.13 as Tomas Malasinski secured the points for the Wildcats.

Phoenix head back home to take on the Bracknell Bees in their Sunday fixture with the usual face off time of 17:30.