Phoenix triumphant in NIC

Sunday, 7th January 2007

Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand demanded big performances from his players after a week off and they responded to take two valuable points from Nottingham on Saturday with Simon Mangos scoring the overtime winner. 

An at times bruising encounter saw Derek Campbell and Ryan Shmyr pick up fighting majors inside two minutes before Phoenix opened the scoring through Ales Parez on a 7th minute powerplay. The home side hit back with a first period brace from their captain David Clarke in the 12th and 17th minutes respectively to lead at the first break, the equaliser coming on a Panthers powerplay. 

Phoenix battled gamely in the second period that saw two more players – Panthers Paul Moran and Phoenix David Vychodil – both receive fighting majors in the 34th minute and deservedly got back on level terms in the final minute of the period as Tony Hand sent Johan Molin in shorthanded and the Swedish star showed exactly why he leads the team in scoring. 

Panthers again got their noses in front as Clarke completed his personal hat-trick scoring shorthanded in the 49th minute. Phoenix could have let this goal unsettle them, but it had the opposite effect as the team galvanised its efforts and just over two minutes later David Vychodil, arriving late in the offensive zone, blasted home a howitzer of a shot to tie the game at 3-3. 

Neither side could break the deadlock in the final minutes and the game went into sudden death overtime with defenceman Simon Mangos latching onto a pass from Ales Parez to fire past the Panthers goalie on the short side to send the travelling Phoenix fans wild with delight. 

Player coach Tony Hand commented, “This was a battle and we had to work extremely hard against a team who hit everything that moved tonight. But, we corrected a few errors and got back on track and in the end I think we got what we deserved.” 

The victory moved Phoenix into sixth place in the bmibaby Elite League standings ahead of the Sheffield Steelers who they meet on Sunday at Ice Sheffield with face-off at 5.30pm.