Phoenix hand Vipers Boxing Day blues

Wednesday, 27th December 2006

Despite being shorthanded through sickness, Manchester Phoenix enjoyed a fruitful trip to Tyneside on Boxing Day, taking the points in emphatic style over the hometown Vipers.

With player/coach Tony Hand and feisty forward Robin Gomez both not making the trip to the north-east, Phoenix knew the task ahead of them would be formidable, but their game plan worked perfectly from the first face-off. Johan Molin continued his fine run of goalscoring form latching onto a long pass from KC Timmons to fire Phoenix ahead in the 7th minute, but the Vipers responded 59 seconds later, Corey Morgan netting the equaliser. Phoenix though were not be denied despite losing Joe Miller after a collision with Jason Robinson as the first period break saw them back in front after great work from Derek Campbell ended with his shot into the roof of the net at 15.55.

Phoenix stretched their lead early in the second period when a superb pass from David Vychodil released Adam Walker and the young Scot drew Aubry in the Vipers net before scoring on the backhand. Vipers were rattled and were throwing some big hits trying to unsettle the Phoenix who retained their composure to punish them again on 29 minutes as Simon Mangos netted on the rebound after Ales Parez had shot wide.

Vipers came out hard in the final period and Jonathan Weaver reduced the arrears with just over ten minutes to play. Phoenix didn’t panic under the increasing pressure and deservedly wrapped up the victory in the 59th minute when Derek Campbell went in one-on-one on Aubry in the Vipers net with Campbell the winner in consummate style.

Phoenix bench coach Mike Kiesman remarked, “we knew this would be a tough game and to go into it without Tony and Gomer was a tough ask. But, we set out our stall, stuck to the game plan and despite losing Joe and having a few nervy moments, I thought the boys were superb and thoroughly deserved the win.”

Phoenix are next in action on New Years Eve when the MobilX Vipers visit Deeside for a 1.30pm face-off.