Fantastic win for Phoenix in Sheffield

Sunday, 18th January 2015

Sheffield Steeldogs 1 - Manchester Phoenix 2

Phoenix scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik and James Archer

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix crossed the Pennines with just 14 skaters to take on bitter rivals Sheffield Steeldogs and brought the points back west with an inspired performance.

The first period was goalless as both teams went hell for leather at each other. Phoenix had the early chances but the fast Steeldogs counter attack caused problems for the visitors. Stephen Fone in the Phoenix net stood tall and kept the marauding Ozolins and Korhon from giving the Dogs the lead. Dalibor Sedlar at the other end was also doing his bit to keep the scorekeepers redundant as he pulled off a number of fine saves in the period. 

Phoenix brought a sizeable support to the game despite the poor weather conditions and they went into raptures when their favourites took the lead on 24.05. Shaun Thompson and Robin Kovar did the early work but it was man in form Frankie Bakrlik who found the net. That was the only goal of the period but the scoreline did not tell the story of another great period of hockey where Phoenix looked the better team.

Steeldogs came out meaning business in the third and put the tiring Phoenix rearguard under tremendous pressure. However Phoenix kept plugging away and the dangerous Kovar and Bakrlik were causing the Dogs problems of their own. Phoenix doubled their lead on 50.25 when James Archer scored, assisted by Frankie Bakrlik and Tony Hand. The game was far from won at this stage, though, and the Dogs upped their game again to camp in the Phoenix zone. 

A mad scramble on 54.33 ended up with Ashley Calvert pulling a goal back for the home side, leaving the Phoenix fans with five and a half minutes of nerves. The final 5 minutes must have seemed like 55 to Phoenix as they put everything on the line to keep the Dogs out, even defending a late Dogs powerplay to hold out for a great win. Tempers frayed a bit at the end and Frankie Bakrlik and Callum Pattison picked up misconduct penalties at the end.

A great win for injury hit Phoenix with Stephen Fone picking up the beers for a great performance between the pipes. General opinion of the Phoenix fans was that any one of the Phoenix 14 could have picked up the accolade.