Cruickshank shutout blanks Phoenix

Sunday, 10th December 2006

Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand could only shake his head in disbelief after Saturday’s lone goal loss to the Basingstoke Bison. “How we didn’t score I don’t know,” he said, “the players did everything I could have asked of them – Cruickshank was the difference.”

A tight game between two well matched teams saw the only goal of the game scored with just 43 seconds remaining in the second period as Greg Owen converted a pass from Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard to narrowly beat Jason Wolfe in the Phoenix net.

Both sides had plenty of scoring opportunities and both netminders were on top form in an entertaining game that had its fair share of edge as tempers threatened to boil over on a couple of occasions. Phoenix thought they’d equalised in the 44th minute when a superb effort from Derek Campbell beat Curtis Cruickshank in the Bison net and hit the post. The goal judge initially signalled a goal and both sets of players appeared to accept the goal, but referee Thompson adjudged otherwise and Phoenix were left to rue that lost opportunity as Cruickshank went on to complete a 24-shot shutout.

Hand added, “It was very disappointing to come away from the game with nothing. I thought we deserved a share of the spoils and I’ll be interested to watch the video replay of our ‘goal’ to see if the referee was right in washing it out. Overall, we worked very hard and the guys deserved something from the game.”