Koenig supershow as league leaders stifle Phoenix

Monday, 8th October 2007

Manchester Phoenix 1 - 4 Coventry Blaze

Manchester Phoenix succumbed to the top-of-the-table Coventry Blaze on Sunday night with Blaze netminder Trevor Koenig the star of the show.

Phoenix welcomed back Jeff MacMillan, but were minus Brett Clouthier for what always going to be a tough test against the form team in the bmibaby Elite League. Blaze started strongly and hit the Phoenix goalframe in the opening exchanges, but it was Phoenix who scored first as Tony Hand finished top shelf assisted by Omar Ennaffati and Brian Passmore in the 8th minute. Phoenix put Blaze under pressure and Koenig began to earn his corn with a string of impressive saves. And his rearguard action provided the ideal springboard for the league leaders to hit back six minutes later as Russ Cowley equalised.

Phoenix were caught cold at the start of the second period and Blaze took just 17 seconds to go in front, Adam Calder the scorer after Phoenix failed to clear their defensive zone. And five minutes later they were two goals adrift as a quick break by the visitors saw Michael Tasker rifle a right wing blast past Scott Fankhouser in the Phoenix goal. A high-sticking indiscretion by the Phoenix goalie saw Blaze stretch their lead with a powerplay finish from Curtis Huppe.

Phoenix worked hard throughout, but were unable to find the killer finish as Koenig produced what amounted to a masterclass in netminding turning away everything the Phoenix could throw at him. Blaze had taken their chances while Phoenix hadn't and Koenig was in no mood to let the home side back into the game.

Afterwards, Phoenix player coach Tony Hand was philosophical saying, "we had the chances in the first period and we just didn't take them. We've got to become more clinical in front of goal. We're making the opening, but not scoring enough to break games wide open. I thought Koenig was excellent tonight, Coventry are a strong, fast team and he gives them a superb platform."

Phoenix are next in action on Friday night with a trip to the Sheffield Steelers for a 7.30pm face-off in the Hallam FM Arena before next Sunday's home game against the Belfast Giants. Face-off on Sunday at the Silver Blades Ice Dome in Altrincham is 5.30pm.

The Cassidy Coventry Blaze score

The Cassidy Coventry Blaze score

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