Sport

Manchester Phoenix return to winning ways at the Ice Dome on Sunday after consecutive losses

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

A Juraj Faith double helped Manchester Phoenix to a 5-3 win against the Bracknell Bees at the Ice Dome on Sunday.

It was a welcome victory for the reigning EPL champions who had suffered three consecutive defeats, including a 4-2 reverse at Swindon on Saturday night.

Faith gave the Phoenix faithful a much-needed shot in the arm after scoring in the first minute, but they were pegged back almost immediately by Shaun Thompson’s equaliser.

Phoenix soon regained control with Stephen Wallace scoring on five minutes, whilst Slava Koulikov gave the hosts breathing space with his second goal in as many Sundays.

After an action packed first period, Faith again sent the Phoenix fans wild after one minute of the second, hitting another goal to give his team a commanding lead.

Recently however, Phoenix seem not to enjoy doing things the easy way.  Bees clawed their way back into the game– sometimes literally – with goals from Peter Jasik and Lukas Smital.

However, Tom Duggan – man of the match last week – managed to hit home in the final period to secure a vital win.

Player-coach Tony Hand said: “We needed that. Hopefully this can kick start our season and we can build on it next week.”

On Saturday, injury hit Phoenix – still without forwards James Archer, Jaroslav Spleda and Josh Ward – fell to an away defeat against Swindon Wildcats.

In going down 4-2, that man Faith and top scorer Martin Cingel were on target but, despite outplaying the Wildcats in the first period – recording 14 shots to their hosts’ measly three – were well beaten in the end.

Following this weekend’s fixtures, Phoenix sit fourth in the EPL table.  Milton Keynes Lightning are top, followed by surprise package Slough Jets and Phoenix’s arch rivals Sheffield Steeldogs.

Looking ahead, Phoenix have a rare midweek game tomorrow away at the Guildford Flames followed by another away day at Basingstoke Bison on Saturday.

Basingstoke make the return leg to the Ice Dome on Sunday night with a 5.30 faceoff. Doors open at 5pm. Tickets are available on the door, or at www.manchesterphoenix.co.uk

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