Devils edge home in see-saw battle

Thursday, 12th March 2009

Cardiff Devils 4 - 3 Manchester Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix travelled home from South Wales on Thursday night with nothing to show from their two games against the Cardiff Devils, having gone down 4-3 on Thursday.

Speaking after the game, Phoenix player coach Tony Hand remarked, “Wednesday night, we were perhaps a little flat, but tonight I thought the guys showed tremendous energy against a good Cardiff side. We fought right to then end and were perhaps a little unlucky not to get at least a point from tonight’s game. Considering the schedule we’re on, I think the guys deserve a lot of credit for their efforts, as there’s little respite from now till next weekend when the league campaign draws to a close.”

Phoenix had an early chance to steal a march on the Devils as they were awarded a first minute powerplay opportunity, but the home side defended well and the chance went begging. From this point, the game followed a similar pattern to that of Wednesday night with end-to-end play and chances for both sides. It was Cardiff though who took a first period lead in the 15th minute as Mike Prpich scored assisted by Tyson Teplitsky.

Phoenix rallied in the second session and it was player coach Tony Hand who pulled them level in the 25th minute, latching onto a pass from Josh Garbutt to beat Aubry in the home goal. Cardiff raised their tempo and jumped out to a 3-1 lead with two goals in just over three minutes. Brad Voth regained the lead for the home side just before the half-hour mark and Phil Hill made it a two-goal spread shortly afterwards to rock the Phoenix back on their heels. Cardiff then killed a penalty on Mike Hartwick, but when Wes Jarvis was penalised for Tripping, Phoenix made it third time lucky on the powerplay as Bruce Mulherin finished good work from Alex Dunn and Nathan Ward in the 39th minute.

The third period began with the Devils taking penalties through Latulippe and MacIver and on the two-man advantage, man of the match Luke Fulghum bagged the equaliser much to the delight of the travelling Phoenix fans. However, their celebrations didn’t last long as while still shorthanded, Tyson Teplitsky took a pass from Voth to fire the home side back into the lead. Phoenix piled on the pressure, but were unable to get the game-tying goal to force overtime. And bad feeling that has simmered between the teams boiled over in the final seconds with two players, Prpich and Alex Dunn receiving 5+Game penalties for Fighting while Voth for the Devils received a 5-minute Major for Fighting along with Kyle Bruce of the Phoenix who was also assessed a Match Penalty for Abuse of the Official.

Phoenix travel to the Basingstoke Bison on Saturday before Sunday’s home game in Altrincham against the Newcastle Vipers at 5.30pm.