Phoenix close in on EPL title

Manchester PhoenixMANCHESTER, UK – MANCHESTER Phoenix edged closer to the English Premier League title as they secured a breathtaking four-point weekend.

Dramatic wins over Guildford Flames and Telford Tigers took them clear at the top of the table with just four matches remaining.

And with nearest rivals Basingstoke losing their clash with Swindon Phoenix could secure the Championship when the two sides meet next Sunday.

After losing 6-4 in Peterborough on Thursday, Tony Hand’s side produced a backs to the wall performance to beat the Flames 5-4 on Saturday.

Guildford led at the end of the first by a single goal and were 2-1 to the good after 40 minutes.

Then when ex-Phoenix forward Marcus Kristofferson made it 3-1 within one minute of the third it looked all over.

But Manchester took full advantage of a number of Guildford’s indiscretions.

Michal Psurny and Frankie Bakrlik sandwiched another goal from the visitors to make it 4-3 and the latter hammered home another to level it up.

Phoenix finally dowsed the Flames with another powerplay marker just three minutes shy of the hooter.

Robin Kovar latched on to a great one two from Hand and Psurny to tilt the title race in their favour.

Phoenix’ win over the high spending Tigers last night demonstrated their resolve.

They won 5-4 after the game was tied three apiece at the end of the second period.

Every time Phoenix scored, Telford pegged them back.

James Archer, Richard Bentham and Bakrlik all gave their side the lead only for the Tigers to reply.

But Andy Mckinney’s powerplay marker broke the cycle on 42.24.

Bakrlik added his second of the night in the 48th minute and despite Richard Plant’s reply, they held on.

“Peterborough played well on Thursday and deserved the points. It is always hard in this rink and losing two really early goals made things difficult for us.

“But we regrouped and [the win over Guildford] was a huge result. They are a quality side and never gave up for 60 minutes but our powerplay paid off tonight with four goals.

“We have had a tough schedule but the lads are digging in and putting in tremendous work to keep us in the running for the title.”

To contact the author email: Mike.Appleton@prohockeynews.com

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