Thrilling 3-3 tie in cup semi final 1st leg in Swindon

Thursday, 29th January 2015

Swindon Wildcats 3 - Manchester Phoenix 3

Phoenix scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik, Bobby Chamberlain and Michal Psurny

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix battled hard all night in Wiltshire to bring the Wildcats back to the Dome on level terms for the second leg next month.

Phoenix, still without D men Luke Boothroyd and Joe Graham, started strongly and took the lead with a Frankie Bakrlik power play goal on 2.48 as the Wildcats’ netminder was given a 2 minute delay of game penalty. Frankie picked up his own rebound to send the puck through traffic into the net. The game was being played at a furious pace with both netminders called in to action early on. Swindon pressure paid off after 5.35 when Aaron Nell worked well with Tomasz Malasinski to fire the puck past Stephen Fone. There was no further scoring in the period and an exciting end to end cup tie reached the first break even at 1-1.

The second period mirrored the first with both teams going all out and the netminders were called upon time after time to keep the scores level. Phoenix were looking the better side but Swindon’s fast break offence always looked dangerous.

Stephen Fone brought off a world class double save around the half way mark when he saved from Aaron Nell and managed to steer the rebound from Tomasz Malasinski away from danger. Almost immediately Phoenix took the lead again. Bobby Chamberlain was the scorer as he reacted quickest to send the puck past Stevie Lyle for 2-1 timed at 30.54. Assists went to Jacob Corson-Heron and Adam Walker.

Ben Wood then went to the box on a hooking call and Swindon put the Phoenix defence under tremendous pressure but Fone, having an outstanding night, kept everything out. Phoenix ended the period with Frankie Bakrlik bringing a superb save from Stevie Lyle and Phoenix took the game into the second break with a 2-1 lead.

Frankie Bakrlik was called for hooking 3 minutes into the third period and the Swindon power play unit scored a minute later. The ever dangerous Aaron Nell picked up his, and his team’s, second goal when he collected his own rebound to score. Phoenix were then awarded a penalty shot after an infringement in the crease and Frankie Bakrlik took the shot. Stevie Lyle guessed right and got his pads down quickly to deny the big Czech striker.

Phoenix were not to be denied for long when, from the face off, Michal Psurny shot across goal and his effort was deflected off Lyle and Alex Symonds and into the net with 8 minutes left in the game. Phoenix survived another Swindon powerplay when Bakrlik was again penalised but the home side got the equaliser with just 73 seconds left in the contest. A Shane Moore shot was re-directed past the helpless Fone by Adam Harding and the tie was level again.

One more chance went the way of the visitors when Swindon were called for too many men with just 30 seconds left but nothing came of the powerplay and the game ended 3-3, leaving all to play for in the second leg on 12th February at the Dome.

Phoenix travel to Milton Keynes on Saturday with Basingstoke Bison visiting the Dome on Sunday with the usual face off at 17:30.