Third period Blaze surge sinks Phoenix

Thursday, 1st March 2007

Blaze 4 - 1 Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix were undone on Wednesday night as a third period surge from the league leading Coventry Blaze saw them run out 4-1 victors in a game that also doubled as the first leg of the Knockout Cup semi-final.

The score line somewhat flattered the hosts as at the forty-minute mark, they trailed the Phoenix thanks to a Brett Clouthier goal just before the half hour mark. And the Phoenix should have been at least two goals clear as top-scorer Johan Molin somehow missed an open net shortly after the goal as the Phoenix carved open the Blaze defence with some superb passing interplay.

But Coventry are not league leaders for nothing and they mounted a third period surge that saw them draw level and take the lead in a 27-second spell in the 46th minute. First Neal Martin capitalised on a defensive error and then Sylvain Clouthier fired the Blaze ahead. Phoenix used their timeout to regroup and thought they'd equalised in the 51st minute when the puck appeared to cross the Blaze goal line, but the red lamp didn't light.

With just over a minute left, Samy Nasreddine netted a third for the Blaze to secure the points and from the re-start tempers flared resulting in Blaze forward Dan Stewart and Phoenix's Derek Campbell both receiving five-minute major penalties for fighting. Harshly for the Phoenix who had battled hard throughout, Coventry completed their fightback at 59.40 as Dan Carlson neatly turned to backhand home a fourth marker for the home side.

"Despite the shots on goal count tonight, we were far from outplayed," commented Phoenix bench coach Mike Kiesman. "We played hard and gave as good as we got for most of the game and but for a couple of minor lapses, we should have taken something from tonight's game."

Phoenix are back in action on Thursday with the visit of the Belfast Giants to the Altrincham Ice Dome - face off at 7.00pm before home games on both Saturday and Sunday with the Hull Stingrays and Nottingham Panthers the respective opposition. Tickets for all three games are still available.