Bebris shines in Phoenix rout

Sunday, 23rd October 2016

The Manchester Phoenix claimed their first home win of the season with a sensational 8-5 win over the Bracknell Bees.

In an end-to-end game with chances galore, Edgars Bebris thought he’d opened the scoring for Phoenix but his shot was tipped onto the bar and landed on the line.  A spell of Bracknell pressure kept Steve Fone busy at the other end, but it was Phoenix who broke the deadlock as Bebris set up James Neil who stylishly slotted past Matt Smital at 13:11 for his second goal of the season.

The lead was doubled shortly afterwards as a superb cross ice pass from Robin Kovar set up Bebris to score at 15:47 short-handed.  The two goal advantage didn’t last long as Carl Thompson scored from the slot at 16:33 but this didn’t deter Phoenix who scored again at 17:12 as a pass from Kovar hit Bebris’s skate, then a Bracknell defenceman and went in, with the period ending 3-1.

The second period began with Smital making a good glove save from Kovar before Thompson was again in the right place to bury a rebound at 23:34 for Bracknell.  The action continued all over the ice as a hit on Marek Indra on the boards saw the plexi glass shatter, with the game delayed for almost an hour.

When the game finally restarted, it was Phoenix who took full advantage.  Firstly, Bebris broke clear and slipped the puck under Smital for his hat trick at 26:57, before an excellent Michael Stratford pass released Kovar, who calmly slotted home at 29:05.  Then on Phoenix’s only powerplay of the night, Indra blasted in from the blue line at 33:42 to make it 6-2.  Bracknell were continuing to create chances and got a late goal from Alex Barker, who found the top corner at 38:28.

The comeback was on for the visitors in the third period as a Luke Basic tip at 44:45 followed by a goal from Josh Smith at 49:35 made it 6-5.  In amongst all the goalmouth action, replacement netminder Alex Mettam denied Bebris with an excellent save but he could do nothing to keep out a Roman Malinik blast at 51:28 with another assist for Kovar.  The scoring was completed at 58:59 as Bebris chased down a loose puck to score an empty net goal.

There were a number of standout players for Phoenix including Malinik with five points and Kovar with four, but Bebris deservedly collected the man-of-the-match award with four goals and two assists.

Phoenix are at home next Sunday evening against the Hull Pirates, with a 5pm face-off in Blackpool.