Phoenix injury concerns deepen

Sunday, 5th November 2006

Phoenix suffered their second loss of the weekend at the hands of the Coventry Blaze but are more concerned about mounting injury worries.

Going into Sunday’s clash in Skydome, Phoenix were already without David Vychodil and had Adam Radmall dressed but taking no active part in the game and with barely two minutes played, Derek Campbell limped out of the action with a suspected groin strain. As Phoenix re-adjusted their line combinations, Blaze struck with two goals in the opening six minutes courtesy of Danny Stewart and Adam Calder. Phoenix steadied the ship and played their way back into the game and Adam Walker scored his second goal of the season to reduce the arrears before the first interval.

Blaze restored their two-goal advantage early in the second session as former NHLer Roman Ndur tallied on a powerplay opportunity and once again, the depleted Phoenix had a mountain to climb. They deservedly pulled another goal back and beauty it was as Adam Walker broke in down the right flank and Joe Miller swept his inch perfect pass home in the 21st minute. The Blaze’s greater bench depth saw them respond quickly and Calder roofed a close range wrist shot past Jason Wolfe to give the home side a second two-goal lead at the second break.

The game exploded midway through the final period as Johan Molin took a sickening hit from behind from Reid Simonton and Robin Gomez took his own form of retribution. Both players were subsequently ejected from the game, leaving the Phoenix even further short-benched as Molin needed stitches to a facial wound before he could return. And if that wasn’t enough agony for the visitors and their travelling fans, Radoslav Hecl had to be helped off the ice moments later after appearing to suffer a similar fate that of Derek Campbell in the first period. Coventry wrapped up the points in the final minute with Barrie Moore the scorer of their fifth.

Phoenix player/coach Tony Hand commented ruefully, "I can’t remember a game where we’ve gone in light on bodies and come out lighter still. Injuries are part and parcel of the game but to lose two more guys tonight is unbelievable. I thought the players played tremendously well considering the setbacks we suffered and our British guys were superb again – full credit to them for working so hard. We’ll have to wait and see what the medical staff say about the extent of our injuries, we’ll just hope some will clear up before next weekend."