Lehmann the difference as Phoenix are denied

Sunday, 28th October 2007

Manchester Phoenix 1- 2 Sheffield Steelers

Phoenix player/coach Tony Hand was left shaking his head on Sunday night as his team fought hard, but came out with nothing from an exciting clash with the Steelers.

"The guys have worked their socks off again tonight," Hand commented. "It's not like we're getting outworked, it's not like we're being dominated, it's not like we're losing heavily. We need some more offense going and to get a few bounces going our way."

A tight and scoreless first period saw both teams heavyweights, Brett Clouthier and Jeremy Cornish drop the gloves with just over a minute gone as they fought to give their side the upper hand on a psychological front. Cornish momentarily had Clouthier down, but the Phoenix man regained his feet to stage a grandstand comeback. Both were penalised five minutes for Fighting for a bout that certainly got the crowd on its feet. Phoenix missed a glorious chance to take the lead before the midway point of the session when KC Timmons spurned a golden scoring opportunity as he found space at the back post, but failed to convert.

The second period saw Phoenix create better chances, but ran into penalty trouble when Sean Starke was penalised for Interference and High-Sticking, and he was quickly joined by Scott Basiuk on a Slashing minor. Phoenix defence worked magnificently and superbly killed the penalties before counter-attacking to take the lead. Joe Tallari and Sean Starke worked the puck in deep before feeding it back to Simon Mangos, whose shot appeared to take a deflection before eluding Jody Lehmann in the visitors goal at 38.36.

With the biggest crowd of the season so far in the Altrincham Ice Dome, Phoenix went in search of a second goal in the final period, but Lehmann was again denying them in similar fashion as he had a couple of weeks ago. And his display between the pipes proved the springboard for the Steelers to recover and equalise in the 44th minute as a shot from Jonathan Phillips through a forest of legs beat Scott Fankhouser. And worse was to come just under eight minutes later as the Steelers applied good pressure and Jason Hewitt fired them in front with a close range finish after Fankhouser has somehow denied Warren Tait and Phillips in quick succession.

Phoenix travel to Sheffield next Saturday for their final game in the group stages of the Challenge Cup, before returning home next Sunday in the bmibaby Elite League to host the Hull Stingrays.

Simon Mangos

Simon Mangos scored the Phoenix goal
(Image: Richard Murray)

Brett Clouthier

Clouthier dropped the gloves and took on Jeremy Cornish a minute into the game
(Image: Richard Murray)

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