Third period blitz gives Phoenix 4-point weekend

Sunday, 7th January 2007

Astute tactical changes by Manchester Phoenix coach Tony Hand saw his side fight back from a one-goal deficit to end up resounding winners over the Sheffield Steelers on Sunday night and complete a maximum four-point weekend.

Hand commented, “despite their recent poor run of results, we knew that Sheffield would come out ready to play tonight and they did just that. They had the better of the first period and took the lead and we had to change a few things around. My guys made the adjustments and we took control in the second period without getting on the score sheet. We stuck to the systems and in the end everything came right for us.”

Phoenix had fallen behind to a 14th minute powerplay opener from Steelers Brett Clouthier as the Yorkshire outfit looked to arrest an alarming slide in their recent form with some bright attacking hockey. Trailing at the first break, Hand made the tactical changes to deny Sheffield the time and possession they had enjoyed and the Phoenix regained the initiative. Jody Lehman in the Steelers goal was much the busier in the second period, but went to the locker room at the forty-minute mark with his goal still intact.

Sheffield missed a glorious chance to double their lead when Dan Tessier saw a shot hit the Phoenix goal frame and that seemed to spur the Phoenix to a greater effort as they struck with two 48th minute goals in a 12-second spell shortly afterwards. Simon Mangos, who had hit the overtime winner in Nottingham on Saturday, fired home the equalising goal and straight from the re-start, Swedish sniper Johan Molin scored unassisted to put the Phoenix in front.

Sheffield were shell shocked and five minutes later, a defensive error gave Robin Gomez time and space to crash home an unstoppable shot from point blank range. In the final minute, Phoenix completed their nap-hand of scoring as Derek Campbell scored into an empty net after Steelers had lifted their goalie and right on the hooter, Adam Walker added a fifth marker to complete an excellent weekend for the Phoenix.

Phoenix are in action again next Saturday (13th) when they travel to Humberside to take on the Hull Stingrays.