Phoenix gain first point on the road

Sunday, 28th September 2003

A hard fought game in Skydome on Saturday night saw the Manchester Phoenix gain their first point on the road this season as they tied 2-2 after overtime against the Coventry Blaze.

With new signings Petteri Lotila and Mike Lankshear both making their debuts, Phoenix dominated the opening period and opening the scoring on a 12th minute powerplay as David Kozier calmly slotted home on a rebound after an Eric Lind shot had been spilled by the home goalie. Blaze hit back in the second session with Steve O’Brien equalising but Jeff Sebastian restored the Phoenix lead in the 33rd minute with a rasping shot with the home side again shorthanded. Coventry again drew level early in the third period as a shot from distance took a wicked deflection off Shaun Johnson to deceive Jayme Platt in the Phoenix goal. Neither side could force a winner and sudden death overtime failed to split the two teams.

Phoenix coach Rick Brebant observed, “We started very well and really should have been further ahead in that first period, we’ve got to start taking more of the chances we’re making. We created a lot of good scoring opportunities tonight and hit the post twice. Overall I was quite pleased, especially with the new guys, but there are one or two areas we have to work on in training this week before we travel to London next Friday and Sheffield on Sunday.”

On the debuts of Lankshear and Lotila Brebant added, “I was very pleased with what I saw from both guys tonight. Mike was calm at the back and skates very well for a big man – and he was tired after only just arriving on the ‘red eye’ from Toronto. Petteri was exactly what we were told he would be – an energy player who makes things happen. He linked up well with Shinny and Miroslav and was unlucky not to score himself in the third period. Once they settle in, they will be two very good additions to our roster – very pleased with both of them.”

Phoenix go to the Alexandra Palace on Friday for an 8.30pm face-off against the London Racers before crossing the Pennines on Sunday to take on the Sheffield Steelers at 6.00pm.