Injuries blight fine Phoenix effort

Sunday, 18th November 2007

Cardiff Devils 3 – 1 Manchester Phoenix

A double injury blow to leading scorer Joe Tallari and defenceman Jeff MacMillan proved too big a hurdle for a battling Manchester Phoenix to overcome on Saturday night.

Phoenix travelled to the Welsh capital to take on the form team in the bmibaby Elite League knowing that their nights work would be a tough one. However undaunted by the task in front of them, Phoenix took a deserved sixth minute lead as captain Scott Basiuk found Adam Walker on the right flank and his pass into the path of Rhys McWilliams saw the Birmingham-born forward fire home his first goal of the season. In an even and hard-fought first period, Phoenix looked to heading to the locker room with the lead until a momentary lapse gave Petricko a shot from close range that tied the score at 19.59.

The Phoenix and league leading scorer Joe Tallari didn’t return for the second period and Phoenix coach Tony Hand moved Luke Stauffacher up to the first line with Adam Walker taking his place with Sean Starke and Brett Clouthier on the second line. The late equaliser in the first period boosted the Devils as they enjoyed more of the possession with Scott Fankhouser now the busier of the two netminders. Cardiff edged in front in the 29th minute when a defensive zone turnover allowed Paul sample to find Jason Silverthorn on the edge of the crease and he made no mistake with a quick shot.

The third period saw a big collision involving Jeff MacMillan and he had to be helped from the ice to receive treatment from the Phoenix therapist and Cardiff team doctor in the locker room. Further adjustments to the squad saw a plucky performance from the Phoenix as they battled hard to try and force an equaliser. MacMillan returned to the bench, but was to play no further part in the game as his right leg was proving too painful. A valiant effort by the depleted visitors was finally quashed in the 58th minute when Brad Voth gained the puck in the right wing corner and his pass to the back post was coolly slotted home by Petricko for his second of the game.

Tony Hand commented, “I couldn’t have asked any more of the guys tonight. We played hard, we competed against the form team in the league right now and we were not overawed nor disgraced whatsoever. The difference was the injuries that we sustained and a little bit of bad luck in the number of shots we had blocked.”

Player Profiles

Joe Tallari

Tallari - Injured
(Image: Richard Murray)

Jeff MacMillan

Collision took MacMillan out of the game
(Image: Richard Murray)

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