Phoenix lose as Swindon gain revenge for cup defeat

Sunday, 15th February 2015

Swindon Wildcats 4 - Manchester Phoenix 2

Phoenix Scorers: Shaun Thompson and James Archer

J Davidson sponsored “Men of Iron” Manchester Phoenix suffered a narrow defeat against the Wildcats after a nightmare journey to Wiltshire. Problems on the M5 meant that the team arrived almost 2 hours late for the EPL clash.

Phoenix iced without the injured Jack Watkins with Coach Hand supervising things from the bench, and Declan Ryan starting in net.

Phoenix started well and almost took the lead on 3.40 with what would have been the goal of the season. Robin Kovar set off into the Wildcats’ offensive zone. After three or four nifty moves he left Stevie Lyle for dead and, with a wraparound chance, hit the post from a tight angle. As often happens in sport, the opposition punished Phoenix with the go ahead goal on 4.07.  Aaron Nell found Jonas Hoog on the right side and his shot found its way past the screened Declan Ryan.

Ben Wood was sent to the box on a delay of game penalty on 6.45 and just over a minute later, Swindon doubled their lead on the powerplay. Alex Symonds had a shot well saved by Declan Ryan but Tomas Malasinski reacted first to the rebound to score. The period ended with Phoenix a bit unlucky to be two goals down.

The second period started and ended in controversy with 3 goals and a couple of talking points. Firstly Jacob Heron had to leave the ice with a nasty cut on his eyebrow after an apparent elbow from a Swindon player. Phoenix pulled a goal back on 27.38 with a neat finish from Shaun Thompson assisted by Frankie Bakrlik and Robin Kovar. Tomas Kana regained the two goal advantage for Wildcats when he finished a breakaway over Declan Ryan’s shoulder on 37.35.

Phoenix hit back quickly when Michal  Psurny sent Adam Walker down the right flank and his pin-point pass was volleyed into the net by the in-form James Archer on 38.25. This galvanised Phoenix and with Bobby Chamberlain putting pressure on Stevie Lyle, Shane Moore took offence to this and jumped Bobby then, throwing down the gloves, offered  Chamberlain a fight while he was on the ice from the first punch. Surprisingly the call was a roughing minor on Moore. That ended the second period with Phoenix right back in the game.

Phoenix continued their momentum at the start of the third period and put the Swindon defence under a lot of pressure. Netminder Stevie Lyle was having one of his inspired matches and held on to everything Phoenix fired at him. Despite out shooting the Wildcats, Phoenix could not find the tying goal and, with Declan Ryan pulled for the extra skater 19 seconds from the end, succumbed to an empty net goal from Aaron Nell four seconds from the end to give Swindon the points and their third 4-2 win over Phoenix at the Link Centre.

Phoenix are next in action on Sunday with Milton Keynes Lightning the visitors at the usual face off time of 17:30.