Phoenix errors surrender lead as Giants come from behind to win

Friday, 19th September 2003

Manchester Phoenix fought hard on Friday night in the Odyssey Arena, but eventually succumbed to a bigger, stronger Belfast Giants team by a score line of 5-3.

Jeff Sebastian and Eric Lind put the Phoenix 2-0 in front inside nine minutes, but a couple of errors allowed the Giants to draw level by the end of the first period with markers from Colin Ward and Jason Ruff.

Three early goals in the second period from Paul Sample, Paxton Schulte and Curt Bowen gave the Giants breathing space before George Awada reduced the arrears in the 37th minute. Neither side troubled the scorer in a penalty free third period although Awada was unlucky to see one big shot beat the Giants goalie only to come back off a post.

Phoenix lost defenceman Russ Richardson with a knee injury towards the end of the first period and he is rated as highly doubtful for Sunday’s home clash against the Nottingham Panthers.

Phoenix coach Rick Brebant commented, “Overall, I was very pleased with the effort tonight as we were up against a big, strong Belfast team in their barn and we were without two defencemen after Russ got hurt. We had our chances, but we gave them two goals with mental lapses. Being short-benched, we tired in the third period and this highlights our need to fill the remaining places on our roster as soon as possible.”