Brave Phoenix effort falls just short in Basingstoke

Sunday, 18th January 2015

Basingstoke Bison 3 - Manchester Phoenix 2

Phoenix Scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik x 2

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix fought bravely with a severely depleted team and only just failed to gain something from the match.

Missing Luke Boothroyd, Joe Graham, Michal Psurny and Declan Ryan, Phoenix fought tooth and nail for 60 minutes only to lose by the odd goal in five.

Bison took an early lead when player coach Doug Sheppard scored. Stephen Fone made a great save from Ciaran Long but Sheppard was first to react to the rebound and found the net after just 1.22. Bison’s top line of Joe Greener, Ciaran Long and Doug Sheppard were creating problems for the patched up Phoenix defence but the visitors silenced the home crowd with an equaliser on 5.16. Good work from James Neil and Robin Kovar found Frankie Bakrlik and his shot beat Dean Skinns, over his shoulder, to make it 1-1. 

Bison were pounding the Phoenix defence and took the lead on 14.27 when their first line scored again. This time Ciaran Long got the goal with assists to Doug Sheppard and Joe Greener. Phoenix lost a decisive third goal on 17.18 when Joe Greener got on the score sheet, assisted by Doug Sheppard and Ciaran Long. The period ended with the home side 3-1 up.

The second period was a much closer affair as Phoenix came back into the game and great netminding by Dean Skinns kept the scores level. 40 minutes played and Bison held on to their 2 goal lead.

The third started with Phoenix losing Adam Walker to a back injury sustained in the second period and he was unable to return to the ice. Controversy reigned just 1.54 into the period when Tony Hand was hit by a high stick and fell to the ice. The referee blew his whistle but no call came as the Phoenix player/coach left the ice and amazingly it was Phoenix who came off worse with a 2 minute abuse call from the bench. Kurt Reynolds went to the box on an interference call and Phoenix pulled a goal back on 48.10. 

James Archer and Robin Kovar worked the puck and it came out to Frankie Bakrlik on the blue line. His blistering shot was past Dean Skinns in the Bison net before he could move. 

3-2 and game on. Phoenix hopes of getting something out of the game were dashed when Robin Kovar was given a game penalty for high sticks and the already tired Phoenix defence had to defend a long 5 minute major penalty. They successfully defended the Bison powerplay but just could not find an equaliser. Dean Skinns denied Bobby Chamberlain with an outstanding save and the points stayed in Hampshire with a 3-2 Bison win.

Coach Hand said after the game: “It was really tough against a good Bison team on their big ice, but I thought the lads did tremendously well. Losing Adam Walker and then Robin Kovar made it even more difficult but we fought for every puck all night and were unlucky not to get something out of the game.”