Phoenix gear up for cup encounter

Tuesday, 10th February 2015

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix play what is arguably their most important game of the season against Swindon Wildcats in the Challenge Cup semi final second leg. The teams drew 3-3 in Wiltshire in the first leg at the end of last month.

So far in the league, Swindon have the edge over Phoenix, winning two home fixtures 4-2 and a 4-3 penalty shot win at the Dome. However they were beaten 5-2 last Sunday by a rampant Phoenix side.

Swindon are having a great season and are currently sitting 5th in the Premier League. They have prolific scorer Aaron Nell back in their ranks and new power forward Tomas Kana looks like he will give them some more grit as they reach the business end of the season. Of course, at the back, they have one of the best ever British netminders in Stevie Lyle. A veteran of over 900 games as a professional with a host of clubs and representing Great Britain from 1995 till 2012. 

Phoenix, however, will take a barrel load of confidence from their convincing win last Sunday with an exhilarating third period performance. Frantisek Bakrlik is in marauding form and with Robin Kovar and Michal Psurny supporting, the import forwards are definitely looking for some silverware this season.

Coach Hand commented: “It’s a huge game for us and a real chance to make the final. We know it is going to be a tough. Swindon are a good side with strength throughout the roster. However, we stuck to our game plan last Sunday and got a vital win. I am not sure it gives any pointers for Thursday as it is a one-off game with a final appearance as the prize. We will work hard this week and tweak a few things and be ready and up for the game. You, the fans, also have an important role to play.

“Your support this season has been quite remarkable considering results have not always gone our way. It means a lot to myself and the team to hear your support ringing round the rafters of the Dome and you can help us make the final with the same again.” 

The game is on Thursday evening 12th February with the usual face off at 19:30.

The team are up for the cup and looking to take Phoenix to their first cup final in the EPL era. Tickets will be available on the door so don’t miss this one. It will be a barn burner.