Phoenix denied two points by Phantoms penalty shot decider

Sunday, 21st December 2014

Peterborough Phantoms 2 - Manchester Phoenix 1 (after penalty shots)

Phoenix Scorer:  Frantisek Bakrlik

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix went to Peterborough for an EPL match missing Jack Watkins and Ben Wood and almost came home with the points after a valiant effort by every player.

As always in games between these two teams, there was action at both ends of the ice. Phoenix made a great start, camping in the Peterborough zone in the early minutes and only a James Archer slashing call on 3.48 relieved the pressure on Janis Auzins’ net. After continuous end to end play, Phoenix took the lead on 13.05. The Phoenix D did well to contain a break by the Peterborough forwards and Bobby Chamberlain sent the puck through the middle. Frankie Bakrlik set off across the half way line, took control and beat Auzins for the opening goal. The second period ended without further scoring and Phoenix went to the break deservedly a goal to the good.

Peterborough upped the pace in the second period and took the game to Phoenix. Declan Ryan made three or four great stops to keep Phantoms out and Kovar brought an outstanding save from Auzins at the other end. Peterborough spent a lot of the period trying to goad Phoenix into fights with Lack and Pick doing their utmost to get someone to drop the gloves. Lack’s frustration boiled over with 3 minutes left when, after he had drawn a penalty from Johan Burlin, he needlessly charged the same player into the bench area and luckily for him took only an even-up 2 minutes for charging.  End of two periods with Phoenix still holding on to a narrow one goal lead.

Much of the same from both teams in the third, however the referee decided to play a huge part with a couple of strange calls that put Phoenix on a 3 on 5 penalty kill. Resolute defending by a heroic back four almost killed the first penalty but with just 11 seconds left of the two man Peterborough advantage a lucky stick got to the puck and directed it past Declan Ryan. Unfortunately the stick belonged to Edgars Bebris and the game was tied at 1-1. Phoenix had to survive a further man disadvantage in the last two minutes as Frankie Bakrlik went to the bin on a slashing call. No further goals to report and the match went to overtime.

Phoenix started the 4 on 4 overtime the stronger team and Auzins had to be sharp to keep out another Kovar effort. Once again the Phoenix team looked perplexed when Shaun Thompson was penalised for an innocuous trip and the hard working defence had to go to work again. No major dramas at either end ensued and the dreaded penalty shots came into play.

Baranyik and Walker both missed in the first round and Bakrlik’s effort was easily saved by Auzins. Darius Pliskauskas scored with Peterborough’s second effort, leaving Michal Psurny needing to score to continue the shoot out. Auzins was again up to the task and Peterborough took the extra point.

Coach Hand commented after the game: “I thought the lads were tremendous tonight and were well worth the point, if not two. It is frustrating to put in so much effort to end up being baffled by some calls against us by the referee. However, congrats to Peterborough and we move on to tomorrow’s fixture against Milton Keynes.”