Steeldogs edge thriller at Ice Sheffield

Sunday, 4th January 2015

Sheffield Steeldogs 4 - Manchester Phoenix 3 (OT)

Phoenix Scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik x 2 and Joe Graham

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix lost in overtime in a seven goal match in Sheffield on Saturday night. Phoenix, again hit hard with injuries, iced without top defender Luke Boothroyd and forward Jacob Corson-Heron.

Phoenix looked the fresher, stronger team in the early stages and took the lead with a fine goal on 4.41. Robin Kovar went on a mazy skate into the Sheffield defensive zone and found Bobby Chamberlain who set up Frankie Bakrlik to score. Phoenix continued to have most of the possession although the Steeldogs always looked dangerous on the counter attack. The long awaited physical side of a Steeldogs v Phoenix game showed its head with 13.14 gone. Dogs’ forward Lloyd Gibson took liberties in the Phoenix crease and Bobby Chamberlain had words with him. The ensuing scrap ended with Chamberlain getting the win and both players sitting out a two plus two penalty. The combatants were still cooling off when Phoenix doubled their lead with another neat goal on 17.11. Frankie Bakrlik was again the scorer with assists going to Robin Kovar and Adam Walker. Just as the Phoenix faithful were contemplating a two goal first period lead, a turnover allowed the Steeldogs’ new/old import, Janis Ozolins to score his first of the evening. The period ended with Phoenix deservedly a goal up at 2-1.

Once again, Phoenix started the period the better side but the Steeldogs, buoyant after that late first period goal, were beginning to find gaps in the Phoenix rearguard. Phoenix were unlucky on 23.15 when Bobby Chamberlain hit the post with Sedlar in the Dogs’ net struggling to get across his crease. However, the equaliser came on 30.55 with a Steve Duncombe goal, assisted by Ashley Calvert and Cameron Bowley. The Phoenix reply was swift, just 46 seconds later, as Joe Graham was left all alone on the right hand side and sweetly swept the puck into the open net. Assists went to Frankie Bakrlik and Robin Kovar. Phoenix did have the puck in the net in the period but referee Wardell blew too soon as he thought Sedlar had covered the puck. It was free and Tony Hand stuffed it into the net but after the whistle had gone. Once again, as the period drew to a close, Phoenix were unable to keep the lead and Ozolins scored his second of the night with 17 seconds left to play in the period.  3-3 after 40 minutes of end-to-end hockey.

It was Sheffield’s turn to dominate a period as Phoenix tired in the third and Declan Ryan had his work cut out to keep the scores level. Chances fell at both ends but the period ended scoreless and the game went into overtime. Phoenix had to play the first 47 seconds a man down after Joe Graham was harshly penalised just before the third period ended. Manchester managed to kill off the penalty but after another turnover in dangerous territory, Janis Ozolins hit his hat trick and winning goal on 61.14 to give the home side the extra point.

Manchester return home on Sunday to face Basingstoke Bison with the usual 17:30 start.