Three-point weekend for short-staffed Phoenix

Monday, 3rd December 2007

Manchester Phoenix 3 - 1 Hull Stingrays

Manchester Phoenix player coach Tony Hand declared himself ‘very satisfied” after another hard-fought game with the Hull Stingrays meant his team had taken three points from four this weekend.

With his squad icing just three defencemen due to the loss of captain Scott Basiuk and Jeff MacMillan still recovering from injury, Hand turned to Brian Passmore to fill the gap on the blueline and he praised the Canadian forward say, “I thought Brian had an exceptional game tonight, he helped out on defence and still managed to get on the scoresheet too.”

Phoenix began confidently and Omar Ennaffatti had the scoreboard moving with only 39 seconds having elapsed, firing home a wrist shot off a pass from Sean Starke. But, if the home fans were expecting a deluge of goals to follow, they bargained without a brave fightback from a Hull side determined to make a game of it. Both sides failed to make the most of powerplay chances before Kudrna in the Stingrays goals made a fine stop to deny Starke. Hull drew level shortly before the first interval with Luke Stauffacher in the penalty box, Lee Mitchell netting from the slot.

Phoenix goalie Scott Fankhouser saw early action in the second period saving quick shots from Glowa, Mitchell and Thoma before they had to work hard to get Phillips out of the penalty box on a Hooking minor. Phoenix regained the lead in the 25th minute as Brian Passmore raced up ice to interchange passes with Tony Hand before netting. Further penalties against both teams interrupted the flow of the game as Phoenix tried to press home their advantage, despite a short bench. Kudrna twice denied Joe Tallari and the second period ended with just the one goal spread.

The final session saw Hull trying to force their way back into the game and Phoenix had to work hard to kill off over a minute of a two-man powerplay the way of the visitors as Stauffacher and Ennaffatti drew minors for Tripping and High Sticking respectively. Phoenix re-established their game with some slick hockey and Tony Hand should have added to the score, but delayed his shot allowing Kudrna to make the save. Starke and Ennaffatti saw efforts turned aside before the crucial third goal came just past the 55-minute mark – Luke Stauffacher scoring assisted by the hard-working Starke.

Phoenix bench coach Davey Graham commented, “Considering the loss of Scott (Basiuk) on top of missing Jeff (MacMillan), and with a couple of other guys playing with minor knocks, we adjusted the lines well and got what we deserved. It wasn’t the greatest of games, but we worked hard and that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough game on Wednesday in Nottingham now and then back-to-back games with Coventry.”

Brian Passmore

Man of the Match Brian Passmore assisted the defense and got on the scoresheet
(Image: Richard Murray)

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