Phoenix scorers: Michal Psurny and James Archer
J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix found that bouncebackability with an excellent victory over Milton Keynes to secure a 4 point weekend after the disappointments of the last two weekends.
Both teams were missing key players with Phoenix having to play without Stephen Fone and Robert Schnabel while Lightning iced without their captain Adam Carr and Michael Farn.
The Phoenix faithful were treated to the four official system for the first time this season with referees Tom Pering and Dan Boardman wearing the orange armbands.
Milton Keynes brought a physical game to the Dome and Tom Duggan took a stick in the cheek on the first shift of the match. Tony Hand then sat out the first penalty of the night for a trip on 1.32. MK had the puck in the net soon after but the whistle went long before the red light went on and the goal was washed out. Grant McPherson then found himself in the box on a high sticks penalty and Joachim Flaten nearly put the home side ahead but Stephen Wall in the MK goal made a good save. Lightning’s forecheck was pretty close to the mark on several hits by Leigh Jamieson and eventually he crossed that mark and was called for boarding on 9.09. Scott McKenzie then took what appeared to be a butt end to the face by Nicky Chinn but no call from the ref. The period ended with Phoenix in complete control, outshooting their guests 25-3.
More of the same from Phoenix in the second period with Wall being the busier of the two netminders. Chances fell to Flaten, Bentham, Archer and Pozivil but Wall made some excellent saves to deny Phoenix. The pressure was telling on MK and when they were given a bench minor, Ross Bowers argued too strongly and was given a 10 minute misconduct for abuse of an official. MK were playing their part and starting to find room down the centre of the Phoenix defence and El-Hage had to be alert to keep the scores level. A much closer period ended with Phoenix edging the shot count by 9-8.
Jorge El-Hage did very well early in the third to save a bobbling puck and shortly afterwards the Phoenix special teams had work to do as Joachim Flaten sat out a 2 minute minor for holding. The Phoenix fans were getting behind their team and the roof came off the building on 52.34 as Tony Hand broke up a play and found Michal Psurny moving into the centre and the Czech forward fired high over Wall’s shoulder for 1-0. El-Hage was then called upon to preserve the lead with two good saves as the game entered the final two minutes. Lightning then called a time out with just over a minute left as Phoenix defended a face off in their own zone against 6 outskaters. Phoenix won the face off and Joachim Flaten raced down the left wing to chase the puck and managed to find James Archer who swept the puck into the empty net for 2-0. Lightning had no time to react and Phoenix ran out winners by 2-0.
Jorge El-Hage completed his own personal double with the man of the match award for the second game in a row and recorded his first EPL shutout in his second start for the club.
The Phoenix crowd then paid tribute to Scott McKenzie who played his last game for the club before returning to his old team in Telford.
An outstanding win for Phoenix who also record a 4 point weekend after their 5-3 win in Bracknell the previous evening.