Updated: Thursday, 19th September 2019 @ 4:44pm

Manchester Phoenix survive scare from Peterborough Phantoms to secure away victory in EPL

Manchester Phoenix survive scare from Peterborough Phantoms to secure away victory in EPL

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

Manchester Phoenix rode their luck against Peterborough Phantoms yesterday before hanging on for a 4-3 road victory. 

Phoenix had gone 4-1 up but were pegged back by the hosts who fought to get back in the game by pulling their net minder off the ice in the closing minutes. 

The game started well for Phoenix with Tom Duggan putting them 1-0 up after just a minute and Steve Fone kept the visitors ahead at the first break with a couple of top drawer saves. 

Juraj Faith’s quickfire double at the start of the second period – two goals in two minutes – saw Phoenix into a 3-0 lead before Phantoms’ Richard Bentham pulled one back for the hosts. 

Sustained home pressure was withheld by the Phoenix back line, and against the run of play, the in form Slava Koulikov gave them a 4-1 lead. 

Phantoms got the scoreline back to 4-3 in a stop start final period, through Bentham and Nathan Pollard but Phoenix held on to a vital win.

 Coach Tony Hand said: “The team played well again last night and battled hard for the points.  It was a nervy last few minutes but the lads deserved the win.”

 It was crucial for Phoenix to get something from the weekend as they again fell to a defeat at home on Saturday night to league leaders Guildford Flames.

 In an entertaining game at the Ice Dome, Phoenix went down 5-3 to the visitors but Coach Hand and the Phoenix faithful will be pleased by large sections of the play displayed by their team.

With Hand and Stephen Wallace sidelined by injury, and Josh Ward away on national team duty, three players were called up from Phoenix’s junior team Trafford Metros to provide cover.

 Andy Dunn, Jake Nurse and Jamie Rogerson joined the senior team for the visit of Guildford who went two up in the first fifteen minutes through Branislav Kvetan and Nathan Rempel.

 Tom Duggan – Phoenix’s Man of the match – brought the home team back into with a well crafted solo goal. 

Captain Luke Boothroyd’s penalty for roughing was split between periods, and as so often happens, an ex Phoenix player in Curtis Huppe made them pay within 30 seconds of the restart as Boothroyd sat out the remainder of his penalty.

 Glum faces spread around the Ice Dome as Guildford threatened to run riot following Rick Plant’s fourth, but Martin Cingel responded for the home team on a powerplay to make it 4-2.

 This goal boosted the fans for thethird period, and this translated to Ciaran Long’s goal less than a minute after the restart, and an impressive comeback looked as if it may come off.

 Attack after attack came as Phoenix tried to force the game to overtime, but they were made to pay for their attacking tactics as Hand pulled Fone off in the last minute with Jez Lundin scoring his easiest goal of the season into an empty net.

Coach Hand said: “The guys played extremely well, it was a fantastic team performance. We were the better side for long periods and we were very unlucky not to take something from the game.”

This weekend’s results leaves Phoenix fifth in the league, ten points behind Guildford.  It’s looking increasingly unlikely they will be able to retain their EPL Championship unless they find consistency and secure a run of four point weekends.

This weekend sees Phoenix in action for the last time before Christmas.  They travel to Slough Jets on Saturday afternoon with a 6.30 face off, and host Milton Keynes Lightning on Sunday night at the Ice Dome with the usual 5.30 ice time.  Tickets are available on the door or via www.manchesterphoenix.co.uk