J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix and Milton Keynes Lightning each won their home games to share the points this weekend
Sat: Milton Keynes Lightning 3 - Manchester Phoenix 2
Phoenix scorers: Joachim Flaten and Derek Campbell
Phoenix came away from Milton Keynes with a disappointing defeat in a game they dominated for long periods. However, Milton Keynes resilience paid off in 6 third period seconds when they came from 2-1 down to win the match 3-2.
Phoenix dominated and outshot their opponents 17-5 in the first period but found themselves a goal down at the break. With 13:09 on the clock Lukas Zatopek found a way past Stephen Fone to give the home side the lead. Phoenix continued to pepper Alex Mettam in the MK goal but he stood tall, making some excellent saves to preserve the lead.
Phoenix hit MK very early in the second period with the equalising goal 16 seconds into the period. Joachim Flaten found the net from a Tony Hand pass to stun Lightning. An even and exciting period ended with Phoenix 2-1 up. Their second goal, just 30 seconds from the end of the period, was scored by Derek Campbell, assisted by Tony Hand and Luke Boothroyd.
Milton Keynes took charge for the most of the third period and the Phoenix rearguard had to work hard to keep the eager Lightning forwards at bay. Their resistance was breached on 55:27 when Blaz Emersic poked a loose puck goalwards and it found its way past Stephen Fone. A tired Phoenix did not have time to catch their breath before they found themselves 3-2 down 6 seconds later. Leigh Jamieson was the scorer with an assist given to Emersic.
Phoenix pulled Fone for the last 20 seconds but could not find an equaliser.
Sun: Manchester Phoenix 5 - Milton Keynes Lightning 2
Phoenix scorers: James Archer, Luke Boothroyd , Ondrej Pozivil, Tony Hand and Joachim Flaten (ENG)
Tonight’s game was also the last in Phoenix colours for Derek Campbell and Ciaran Long. Derek’s short term injury cover deal ended tonight and the popular British forward Long said his goodbyes to the Phoenix faithful as his team formed a hockey guard of honour as he left the ice. Club owner Neil Morris presented Ciaran with one of his own game worn shirts as a memento of his time with Phoenix.
This game was another in the long series of barn burners between the two sides. Phoenix took an early lead when sheer hard work and persistence was rewarded when James Archer scored on 1:43. Assists went to James Neil and Tony Hand. The lead was doubled at 16:26 with a Luke Boothroyd powerplay goal. Tony Hand and Michal Psurny were awarded the assists. Milton Keynes again showed they are always a dangerous team when they pulled a goal back 64 seconds later as Blaz Emersic hit the net to make it 2-1 at the end of the first period.
Milton Keynes had the better of an end to end second period but found themselves 3-1 at the end of it. Phoenix were on the penalty kill as Derek Campbell sat out a 2 minute roughing call when Tom Duggan sent Ondrej Pozivil down the left wing on a short-handed break. Campbell was just stepping back on to the ice as the big defender ripped a beautiful shot high on Mettam’s right side, giving Phoenix a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Milton Keynes hit back early in the third period and made it a 3-2 game with a Kamil Tvrdek goal 13 seconds in. Phoenix kept plugging away and regained their two goal advantage when player coach Tony Hand scored, assisted by Bari McKenzie, on 43:49 . Lightning upped the pressure level on Phoenix from then on and Stephen Fone came up with a couple of good saves. With the clock ticking into the last minute, Lightning pulled goalie Alex Mettam for the extra outskater but it was Phoenix who finished off the scoring with a Joachim Flaten empty net goal. Final score 5-2 to Phoenix.
Coach Hand said after the game: “It was important for the team to show a positive reaction from Saturday’s defeat and they certainly did that. I thought we came to play for the whole 60 minutes and deserved the points. I would like to thank Derek Campbell for his outstanding contribution during his short term loan. He has been excellent and his points tally has been very important to us during the festive season as we keep tabs on the league leaders.”
Phoenix will entertain league leaders Guildford Flames next Saturday at the Dome with a 1900hrs face off.