Phoenix fight back to draw in Swindon

Sunday, 30th August 2015

Swindon Wildcats 3 - Manchester Phoenix 3

Phoenix scorers:  Robin Kovar, Nico Aaltonen and Stanislav Gron.

Phoenix started their season with a 3-3 draw away to Swindon Wildcats in a pre season challenge match. A thrilling end to end game finished level when Stanislav Gron score with just 46 seconds left.

The game started brightly for both sides with chances at either end in the first minute. The home side took the lead after just 63 seconds when Cory McEwan found Aaron Nell free at the back post and he flashed the puck past Stephen Fone. Michal Satek thought he had equalised with 5 minutes gone but the puck pinged off the upright. Mark Thomas hit a beauty from the blue line on Phoenix’s first power play but Jordan Hedley made a good save. Swindon were creating chances of their own but Stephen Fone was having a great game between the pipes. Phoenix had another chance on the power play in the last minute of the period but it finished 1-0 to Wildcats

Swindon doubled their lead on 27.50 after a line change mix up left  Nell and McEwan alone on the left and Nell found McEwan free in front of goal to  make it 2-0.  Five minutes later the Phoenix fans were up on their feet when Robin Kovar scored the team’s first of the season. Determined work down the right hand boards by Gareth O’Flaherty found Nico Aaltonen and Robin Kovar, and the latter scored with a crisp shot. Another end to end period finished with no  further scoring and the home side took a narrow lead into  the final 20 minutes.

The game looked all over for Phoenix just 2 minutes into the third period when Swindon scored a neat goal. Tomasz Malasinski prodded the puck home after a Miroslav Zalesak shot in front of goal. Swindon then lost Floyd Taylor to a match penalty for kneeing Stanislav Gron and Phoenix went on a 5 minute power play It took the visitors less than a minute to take advantage when on 45.25 Nico Aaltonen scored his first goal for the club.  Phoenix felt very hard done by when they had what looked like a great goal washed off by referee Picket 90 seconds later.  Stan Gron hit a sweet one timer from the blue line that flashed past Jordan Hedley only to see the referee wash it off for a man in the crease. The power play passed without further incident but Phoenix deservedly drew level with just 46 seconds left on the clock. Stan Gron and Robin Kovar worked well together for the Slovakian to score his first goal for Phoenix.

All in all a good work out for both teams and an interesting pre season game for the fans.

Coach Hand said after the game: “It was a good work out for us after just a couple of training sessions. The chemistry is coming together and we will take that forward tomorrow.”

Phoenix take on the Wildcats again Sunday at their new home in Deeside in the return match. Face off is 1830hrs.