Phoenix blanked in Basingstoke

Saturday, 9th January 2016

Manchester Phoenix travelled to Hampshire on Saturday evening for the final time during the regular season to face the Bison.

Phoenix were awarded an early Powerplay, however Bison netminder Jon Baston denied both Robin Kovar and Luke Boothroyd.  The Bison responded with a breakaway at 5:41 when Tomas Karpov fired over Steve Fone’s shoulder to give the home side the lead.  Matt Towalski then doubled the lead at 12:49 after being set up by Karpov.  Both sides continued to trade chances as the period wore on, but there was no further scoring as Bison led 2-0.

Phoenix were handed another Powerplay opportunity at the start of the second, but it was Stanislav Gron who was this time denied by Baston.  Former Phoenix player Ciaran Long extended the home side’s lead at 24:24, and Aaron Connolly quickly added a fourth on the Powerplay at 25:44.  Phoenix worked hard to try and get back in the game but the Bison ended the period 4-0 to the good.

The visitors continued to press at the start of the third period and were awarded a penalty shot at 42:37 when Michal Satek was brought down by Long.  Satek was unable to convert however as he was denied by Baston.  It was a costly miss as Rene Jarolin soon added a fifth for the home side at 43:07.  Martin Baranek was then denied by the crossbar as Phoenix were frustrated in their attempts to get on the scoreboard as the game finished 5-0.

Coach Tony Hand commented: “You have to give Basingstoke a lot of credit, they’re playing well and making good decisions on the puck which is why they’re top of the league.  We created some chances tonight but they have a goalie playing with a lot of confidence.  We’ll get ready for tomorrow, and if we continue to do the right things on the ice, we’ll get some wins.”

Phoenix host the Swindon Wildcats in Deeside on Sunday evening with a 6:30pm face-off.