Phoenix disappointment at Devils loss

Sunday, 24th December 2006

Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand left Cardiff on Saturday night rueing a third period that saw his team lose a game they had largely controlled.

The good work of the first two periods was undone as Derek Campbell took a 2+10 penalty for Checking to the Head at 47.12 that effectively saw him out of the game and a run of minors allowed Cardiff to wrench control of the game from the Phoenix to secure the vital two points on offer.

Phoenix had started well and opened the scoring in the 17th minute with Cardiff-born Joe Miller notching his third of the season converting a feed from Ales Parez. But the teams were tied at the first break as Max Birbraer equalised on a powerplay 90 seconds later.

Mark Smith fired the Devils into an early second period lead on a lightning fast shorthanded break and the Phoenix had to weather some Devils pressure before drawing level just past the half hour mark with David Vychodil the scorer on a powerplay. The next Devils infringement saw Phoenix regain the lead as Phoenix passed the puck around well before Robin Gomez picked out Radoslav Hecl and his shot from the top of the slot gave Osaer in the home net no chance.

Cardiff drew level again early in the final period as Mark Richardson forced the puck home at 41.08. Phoenix were still playing well and the game was well poised until the Campbell penalty gave the home side added impetus and they took advantage as Teplitsky drifted into space to score the go-ahead goal at 54.07. Devils captain Gerard Adams latched onto a long pass from Teplitsky to race away and score the fifth at 58.18 leaving Birbraer to grab his second of the game at 58.52. Robin Gomez fired home just 8 seconds after the re-start to add a degree of respectability back to the scoreline, but the penalties had cost the Phoenix dearly.

The loss and other results on Saturday night saw Phoenix slip to 8th place in the bmibaby Elite League standings and give the Boxing Day and New Years Eve games against the MobilX Vipers even more relevance.