Plucky Phoenix undone by virus

Sunday, 18th March 2007

Phoenix 1 - 4 Giants

Manchester Phoenix were missing three players on Saturday night due to them all being struck down with a mystery virus. Player Coach Tony Hand, emerging star Adam Walker and utility player Adam Radmall all missed the game.

Up against a Belfast Giants squad still harbouring thoughts of lifting the league title, Phoenix played as hard as could possibly be expected in a St.Patricks' Day encounter that clearly favoured the visitors from the outset. Jeff Hutchins tallied on an 11th minute powerplay to put the Giants in front, but they were to add to their score in a first period that was surprisingly even given the Phoenix lack of fit bodies.

A redirection of a Jason Ruff shot by Roman Gavalier saw the Giants double their lead in the second session before Phoenix hit back right on the half-hour mark as Brett Clouthier neatly re-directed a blueline blast from Simon Mangos. Phoenix hopes though were dashed just over three minutes later when Giants player coach Ed Courtenay restored the visitors' two-goal advantage.

Phoenix refused to buckle and to their credit kept taking the game to the Giants and Phillippe DeRouville in the visitors goal made a string of key saves that were to earn him the Man of the Match award. Giants wrapped up their St.Patricks' Day victory in the 49th minute as Jason Ruff got the reward for a solid nights work in the visitors cause.

Phoenix bench coach Mike Kiesman noted, "We played really well considering the state of the guys. Missing Tony and the two Adams' was bad enough, but we've now got another couple of guys feeling similar symptoms. The players worked as hard as anyone could have expected and I just hope they've got a bit more in the tank for Sundays' trip to Newcastle. It's fair to say right now, we're all mightily pleased that we've achieved playoff qualification already."