Phoenix lose, but far from disgraced

Sunday, 18th November 2007

Manchester Phoenix 2 - 4 Nottingham Panthers

Missing Joe Tallari and Jeff MacMillan for the second successive night, Manchester Phoenix battled bravely against the odds and arguably the biggest budget team in the league before going down at home on Sunday night.

Phoenix started brightly, forcing the Panthers goalie into early action with saves from Tony Hand and Brett Clouthier before the visitors opened the scoring on the games first powerplay opportunity – Corey Neilson firing home through a forest of legs with the aid of a slight deflection off a Phoenix stick in the 8th minute. Phoenix dug in and hit back on their first man advantage, a howitzer shot from Scott Basiuk piercing the Panthers defence in the 14th minute. The visitors regained the first interval initiative as they bagged their second powerplay marker in the 16th minute, Patrik Wallenburg netting.

The trend of powerplay goals continued in the second session as again, Phoenix show their spirit and determination not to succumb to the loss of two players as Luke Stauffacher gleefully rammed home his first goal for the club assisted by the hard-working Sean Starke and Omar Ennaffatti. Phoenix then worked hard to kill a Slashing penalty on Basiuk only for the Panthers to regain the lead seconds after the Phoenix captain returned to the ice – Steve Pelletier the scorer. Phoenix were beginning to feel the effects of being two men short and with Starke doubling up as a makeshift defenceman, their recent misfortune in front of goal continued when a shot from Ennaffatti crashed back into play off the goalframe, before he picked up a 10-minute Misconduct penalty for backchatting to the referee.

Nottingham got the all-important two-goal spread in the 45th minute as Pelletier fired home his second goal of the game with Scott Fankhouser screened by heavy traffic in front of his goal. Phoenix worked hard to try and force their way back into the game, but were unable to find a way past an efficient Panthers rearguard.

A Phoenix spokesperson commented, “The injuries to Joe and Jeff could hardly have come at a more inopportune time for the team. Once again, we’ve worked hard and not been embarrassed at all by a stronger, deeper team. It’s four games on the bounce now we’ve lost, but we’ve been in every game and we can’t ask much more than that. The players will be out and about this week with the Schools Roadshow programme and that will give them a chance to take their minds off the results by having some fun with the local schoolchildren before getting back to training on Wednesday.”

Luke Stauffacher

Luke Stauffacher scored his first goal in a Phoenix jersey

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