J Davidson sponsored Manchester Phoenix will play a rare Saturday match this weekend against table-topping Guildford Flames.
The Surrey side have won 6 games in a row and in fact have only lost once in 17 games. A remarkable run that has seen them move above long term league leaders Basingstoke.
They are the league’s top scorers with 143 goals. Great Britain international forward David Longstaff has hit 67 points so far this season and he is complemented by ex Phoenix striker Curtis Huppe, who has 51 points. Goaltending is another strong point with Mark Lee sitting up near the top of the goalie stats. Their defence is on the tough side with veteran Neil Liddiard and import Branislav Kvetan each in the 80’s in the penalty minute stakes. Of course the main toughness in the Flames side comes from another ex Phoenix player, Andrew Sharp.
Phoenix are coming off a good Christmas series that saw them take 6 victories from 8 matches to keep themselves on the coat tails of the Flames, just 4 points adrift.
The teams have only met twice so far this season with both games going the way of the Phoenix early in the season. In an October double header weekend, Phoenix triumphed 4-2 in Guildford and bagged a 4-3 overtime win the following night at the Dome.
The home side are playing some scintillating hockey at the moment and are on a 5 game home winning streak, one which they will certainly be looking to continue. Player coach Tony Hand is once again the top provider in the league with 44 assists in a 51 point total so far this season. Benefiting from this service is Michal Psurny with 24 goals, Joachim Flaten with 20 and James Archer with 14 goals respectively.
Netminder Stephen Fone had a welcome return to top form last weekend against Milton Keynes and will be keen to match his skills against the Flames’ free scoring forwards.
Coach Hand commented: “These match ups are the ones you play the game for. Guildford are a top side and we have beaten them twice so far. Continuing that run will be very difficult and we will need to play for the full 60 minutes as we did last weekend against Lightning. The locker room is buzzing at the moment and we will be up and ready for them come Saturday.”
The Dome will be buzzing on Saturday night. Two of the best teams in the league, battling it out for supremacy. Definitely one you will not want to miss. There is only one place to be on Saturday night at 1900hrs and that is the Altrincham Ice Dome, cheering on your favourite, and Manchester’s fastest and most exciting, sports team. Manchester Phoenix.
See you there.