Walker treble sets up Molin the hero

Friday, 23rd March 2007

Phoenix 6 - 5 Bison after overtime

A hat trick from emerging star Adam Walker and a stunning overtime winner from Swedish sniper Johan Molin earned the Manchester Phoenix the two points that should secure them a sixth place finish in the bmibaby Elite League table.

And another tense, end-to-end, goal fest with the Bison has seen every game between the two sides this season decided by just one goal. Phoenix went into the game missing Radoslav Hecl and Adam Radmall and with starting netminder Jason Wolfe clearly not 100%.

After the sides had traded first period goals from Greg Chambers for Bison in the 4th minute and Anthony Battaglia on an 11th minute powerplay, the game resembled a fairground shooting gallery in the second session as Phoenix twice took the lead only for Bison to level twice and then regain the advantage themselves before Phoenix tied the score at the second interval. Walker got the first of his treble in the 22nd minute only for player coach Doug Sheppard to pull the visitors level on a 24th minute powerplay. Walker bagged his second to put Phoenix back in front before Blair Manning again tied the scores on a powerplay. Sheppard with his second of the game put the Hampshire outfit ahead for the second time in the game only for Johan Molin to score a superb shorthanded equaliser just before the second break.

Walker completed his hat trick haul in the 48th minute, but the Bison again drew level less than ninety seconds later as Mark DeSantis tallied on yet another Bison powerplay. The final ten minutes were tense and tight as both sides strained for the winner, but the regulation time ended with the score tied at 5-5. Phoenix needed some inspiration and it came from the deadly duo of player coach Tony Hand and the Super Swede, Johan Molin. Hand, still not fully recovered from the virus that has plagued the Phoenix camp all week, found time and space to feed Molin and he danced around Cruickshank in the Bison goal before joyously netting the overtime winner.

Hat trick hero Adam Walker noted, "of course I'm delighted to have scored three goals, but it's way more important that we got the result after the week we've had. It was very frustrating for me personally to have missed both games last weekend, so I'm very happy tonight. We were running on fumes towards the end, but we got the win and that should mean we finish in sixth."