Phoenix unlucky in Skydome overtime loss

Monday, 1st October 2007

Sponsored by David McLean Nikal

Coventry Blaze 3 - 2 Manchester Phoenix after o/t

Manchester Phoenix became the first team this season to take a point off the defending Elite League champions in their own building on Sunday night and counted themselves unlucky not to have won the game.

Coventry on home ice started strongly, but the first real scoring chance came the way of the Phoenix only for the puck to bounce over the blade of Sean Starkes' stick in the act of shooting. Blaze opened the scoring in the 13th minute as Dan Stewart netted from close range. Phoenix rallied and deservedly drew level just over four minutes later as Scott Basiuk and Brian Passmore combined to feed Tony Hand on the right wing and the player/coach rifled the equaliser past Trevor Koenig in the home goal.

The second period saw more early pressure on the Phoenix as they twice had to kill two-man penalties before turning the tide and pinning the Blaze in their own end. Phoenix, on a two-man powerplay of their own, saw shots from Omar Ennaffati and Simon Mangos hit the goalframe before they took the lead, Brian Passmore again the provider with captain Scott Basiuk firing home from the slot at 28.48. The home crowd were stunned into silence and the Phoenix took the advantage into the second break.

The home side reacted to trailing by attacking and forechecking aggressively in the third period, but Phoenix stayed calm until they conceded another two-man penalty at 49.43. Blaze laid siege and tied the game at 50.11 with Adam Calder scoring. With the home fans expecting the Blaze to then blow the Phoenix away, it was they who breathed a sigh of relief when a right wing shot from Joe Tallari beat Koenig only to again come back off the goalframe.
Neither side could break the deadlock in regulation time and the 4-on-4 overtime period was only 51 seconds from taking the game into a penalty shootout when Neal Martin broke in and fired the game-winning goal and inflict the first loss on the Phoenix in six outings. Phoenix were unhappy at the nature of the goal as they argued strongly that Sean Starke had been unfairly impeded by Barrie Moore in the lead up to Martins' advance through the neutral zone.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand remarked, "Our guys played another very good game tonight and we fully deserved the point we got from the regulation time tie. We battled hard all night because we knew Coventry would play hard all night. It was a disappointing to lose on a call we thought should have been made, but we'll pick ourselves up and get ready to face Hull on Thursday."

Phoenix play the Hull Stingrays on Thursday evening in the bmibaby Elite League with a 7.45pm face off in the Silver Blades Ice Dome in Altrincham.

Brian Passmore

Brian Passmore - 2 assists
(Image: Richard Murray)

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