Burnett at the double as Phoenix hit the ‘Rays for six

Saturday, 7th March 2009

Hull Stingrays 1 - 6 Manchester Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix warmed up for their first leg of the Challenge Cup Final on Sunday with a third straight win in the Elite League on Saturday and fourth away win of the season against the Hull Stingrays.

Phoenix travelled to Humberside knowing that the Stingrays were not going to give them an easy evening and so it transpired, or at least for the first forty minutes. Phoenix dominated the possession in the opening session and enjoyed more scoring opportunities, however they had to settle for the only goal of the period just past the 15-minute mark as Lucas Burnett tallied unassisted. Both sides failed to capitalise on two powerplay chances each before the hooter brought the first interval.

Referee Coenen, who sent Tony Hand for a 10-minute Misconduct penalty on Thursday, again upset the Phoenix supporters in the 27th minute as he sent Alex Dunn to the penalty box on the same misdemeanour. Phoenix stayed calm and it was player-coach Hand himself who fired them into a two-goal lead a minute later assisted by David Beauregard. Hull reduced the arrears five minutes later as promising youngster Lee Esders pierced Stephen Murphy’s defences to give the home side a glimmer of hope.

The Hull glimmer was firmly extinguished in the final period as the Phoenix increased their lead inside three minutes as Brett Clouthier and the increasingly influential Burnett combined for Alex Dunn to fire home their third marker. Phoenix were now well in control and less than three minutes later, Burnett combined with Beauregard to set up Adam Walker for number four. With just over ten minutes to play, Phoenix went nap and it was fitting that it was Lucas Burnett claiming his second goal of the game capitalising on assists from Walker and Clouthier to give the visitors an unassailable lead. Despite some penalty trouble late in the game that gave the home side a long two-man advantage, Phoenix wrapped up another excellent performance with Bruce Mulherin scoring in the final minute with the Stingrays shorthanded.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand noted, “The boys played really well tonight, we were always in control of the game and I thought we played some good hockey. I don’t normally single out individuals, but Lucas Burnett was excellent tonight, making and scoring goals and contributing in all areas of the ice. We’ve had three games this week and normally, that would be very tiring, but three wins has built confidence and that will be important on Sunday in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Final.”

Phoenix face the Belfast Giants in Altrincham on Sunday in a 5.30pm face-off in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Final. Next week, Phoenix travel to South Wales for back-to-back away games against the Cardiff Devils on Wednesday and Thursday – both games face-off at 7.30pm.

Lucas Burnett

Forward Lucas Burnett scored twice, helping to secure victory for the Phoenix

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