Phoenix put Bees to sword after first period scare

Sunday, 25th January 2015

Bracknell Bees 3 Manchester Phoenix 8

Phoenix scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik x 3, Shaun Thompson x 2, Jacob Heron x 2 and James Archer

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix showed their mettle with a comfortable win over the Bracknell Bees after a 1st period shocker.

Phoenix, having welcomed back Michal Psurny and Adam Walker to the roster after injury but still without key D men Luke Boothroyd and Joe Graham, were slow to get going and Bees put the makeshift defence under pressure early on. 

With James Galazzi in the penalty box sitting out an interference call, the visitors brought the puck out of the defensive zone only for a linesman’s intervention to divert it straight to the dangerous Lukas Smital on the break. He made no mistake and put the home side 1-0 up after 2.31 with the short-handed goal.

Phoenix were actually looking the more dangerous on attack but several breakdowns, giving up odd man rushes, were severely punished with goals from Matt Towalski and Pavel Strycek put the Bees 2-0 up after 13.41. Phoenix were stunned but got themselves back into the game with just over three minutes left in the period. Good lead-up play by Adam Walker and Robin Kovar found Frantisek Bakrlik on the blue line and a typical Frankie howitzer soared past Alex Mettam at head height. 

The period ended with Bees leading 3-1 and Phoenix heading for the locker room and Tony Hand’s team talk.

Whatever the coach said to the lads in the break worked a treat as Phoenix came out and totally dominated the second period with a blistering four goal performance. With only 98 seconds gone in the second, Phoenix had pulled the game back to 3-3 as Shaun Thompson reacted first to a Robin Kovar rebound to send a crisp shot past Mettam for 3-2 after 20.47 and a James Archer power play strike made it 3-3 just 51 seconds later. 

Bees were shell shocked and worked hard to stem the waves of Phoenix attacking play. The visitors struck again with two quick goals late in the period. 35.07 on the clock and the Phoenix faithful in the stands erupted as Jacob Corson-Heron scored his first goal in Phoenix colours. The look on the young man’s face was worth the long journey down to Berkshire. It may only have been a tap in but it made sure the “monkey” had left the building. 90 Seconds later another great strike by Frankie Bakrlik made the score at the end of the period 5-3 to Phoenix.

Bracknell tried hard to get back into the game in the third period but Phoenix were controlling the neutral zone and not offering too many chances to the home forwards.  Shaun Thompson put the game beyond doubt on 48.17 with assists going to Frankie Bakrlik and Robin Kovar. 

The game was petering to a close when Phoenix burst out again with two quick goals. There were just 20 seconds left on the clock when Frankie took a pass from Bobby Chamberlain just outside the Bees’ defensive zone. Two quick hand movements and the in-form striker had made room for himself to flash a shot past Mettam before he could move. There was still time for an eighth Phoenix goal as Jacob Corson-Heron, obviously taking to this goal scoring lark, hit his second of the night with 3 seconds left.  

All in all a good performance by Phoenix, after a very shaky first period, and two points on the bus for the long journey home. Man of the Match for Phoenix went to Frankie Bakrlik for a superb 6 point evening. 

Phoenix return to home action on Sunday 25th against Guildford Flames with the usual 17:30 face off.