Phoenix need to find their scoring touch

Monday, 10th September 2007

Sunday's home opener for the Phoenix in the bmibaby Elite League proved a disappointing night at the office as despite again outshooting their opponents, they came out on the wrong end of the scoreline.

Basingstoke arrived with just eleven outskaters, but used the shorter bench to great effectiveness icing just two lines of forwards while Phoenix rotated three. After Brad Cruickshank had given the visitors an early lead on the powerplay. Sean Starke opened his account in the ninth minute with the equalising goal. Phoenix enjoyed much the better scoring chances, but failed to turn their pressure into further markers in an entertaining first period.

Captain Scott Basiuk fired Phoenix into the lead in the 26th minute, but the celebrations were cut short as Greg Chambers pulled the Bison level with a top-shelf finish and Steve Thornton put the visitors back in front with a deflected shot. Peter Campbell and Thornton added two more before the second break to set Phoenix a third period mountain to climb.

Thornton completed a personal hat-trick early in the final session before evergreen Tony Hand pulled another goal back for Phoenix. Danny Stewart then fired home an unassisted seventh for Basingstoke in the 49th minute with Adam Walker scoring the final Phoenix marker just over a minute later.

A disappointed Tony Hand noted, "They came in short-staffed and it actually helped them as with only two lines of forwards they were able to keep things really simple. Just like on Saturday, we made a lot of chances, outshot them, but somehow weren't able to get to any rebounds or buy ourselves a break or two in front of goal. It's not nice to lose your home opener and we'll be working hard in training this week to put things right, and if that means a re-vamp of the lines patterns then we'll take a look at that in practise."

Next weekend sees Phoenix travel to Belfast on Saturday for a match-up with the Giants before Sunday's home game against the MobilX Newcastle Vipers.