Battling Phoenix to fight on

MANCHESTER, UK – DEPLETED Manchester Phoenix face a battle to stay in the English Premier League title race after suffering a double defeat. A 7-4 reverse at Guildford Flames on Saturday and a 9-4 loss to Peterborough Phantoms last night saw them slip further behind leaders Basingstoke Bison. With Tony Hand away on Great Britain duty, number one netminder Stephen Fone (groin) and Joachim Flaten (face) missing Phoenix were always up against it given the quality of their opponents. Backup goalie Jorge El Hage had a weekend he would rather forget but will be better for the experience whilst youngster Andrew Jaszczyk also got valuable ice time between the pipes. On Saturday Phoenix matched the Flames for the first period before the Champions pulled away in the second. Bari Mckenzie notched his fourth of the season on a breakaway in the 17th minute but goals from Branislav Kvetan, Milos Melicherik and David Longstaff’s second made it an uphill task. Ondrej Pozivil pulled it back to 4-2 but ex Phoenix forward Curtis Huppe restored the three goal advantage. Phoenix never gave up and goals from James Archer and Michal Psurny rocked the Flames but a double from Jozef Kohut broke Manchester’s hearts. Last night’s 9-4 reverse at Peterborough came after Phoenix led 3-2 after the first period. But seven more goals ended the contest although Andy Mckinney scored a late consolation. To contact the author email: Mike.Appleton@prohockeynews.com

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