Phoenix Challenge Cup progress in the balance

Sunday, 4th November 2007

Sheffield Steelers 6 - 5 Manchester Phoenix

A topsy-turvy shootout in Sheffield on Saturday night sees Manchester Phoenix needing the Newcastle Vipers to win their remaining two games if they are to progress to the semi-final draw.

Saturday nights game saw Phoenix lead three times, recover from a two goal deficit and somehow come away empty-handed. Phoenix struck first with a terrific shot from Joe Tallari in the seventh minute, but Sheffield tied the first period on the first of a hat-trick for their captain Jonathan Phillips.

Phoenix regained the lead on the first of a brace for Brian Passmore coming on a 26th minute powerplay with the scorer delighted at breaking a long streak of games without netting. His joy though was shortlived as the Steelers equalised inside a minute through Doug Sheppard before adding two further markers through Phillips and Sheppard, on a powerplay, to give them a clear margin. Phoenix then turned the tables as player coach Tony Hand scored a superb shorthanded goal and Passmore crashed home his second powerplay goal to again send the teams to the locker rooms tied on the scoreboard.

Phoenix took their third lead of the game in the 45th minute as Nick Whyatt turned smartly to beat Jody Lehmann with a low shot for his maiden goal. Phoenix were defending stoutly, but when Sheffield again drew level in the 52nd minute with goalie Scott Fankhouser claiming he was impeded, his vocal protests earned him a Misconduct penalty. With just over two minutes left on the game, Sheffield claimed victory with another disputed goal. Ashley Tait netted after Fankhouser had made the first save, but the Phoenix claims of the goalframe being off its moorings were waved away.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand commented, "once again, we've played well and lost. It was good for Brian to score and it will do his confidence the word of good, and nice for Nick to get his first goal at this level. I thought we played well enough to win, but we need to be a wee bit more clinical in front of goal. With the way the group stands now, if we're to qualify we need Newcastle to win both their remaining games as we've currently got a better goal difference than Edinburgh or Sheffield."

Phoenix are at home on Sunday night in bmibaby Elite League action when they take on the Hull Stingrays in a 5.30pm face-off at the Silver Blades Ice Dome in Altrincham.

Tony Hand

Tony Hand scored an excellant short-handed goal
(Image: Richard Murray)

Manchester Phoenix Supporters Club

Click here to visit Phoenix TV

Join our 200 Club