Phoenix cry foul as Bison extend gap

MANCHESTER, UK – MANCHESTER Phoenix were left fuming as a late disallowed goal denied them a point against Basingstoke Bison. Michal Psurny poked the puck home with less than three minutes remaining only for it to be ruled out because the net was off its moorings. In fact it had crossed the line roughly a second before Bison netminder Stevie Lyle appeared to skate into his own goal post. That saw the leveller incorrectly wiped off by the officials and deny Phoenix a dramatic comeback. Basingstoke had shown all their class to take a well-deserved three goal lead at the half way mark even though they were massively outshot by their hosts. Greg Owen tallied twice in the first period before Jaroslav Cesky made it 3-0 on 30:29. But Manchester got back into it when Joachim Flatten fired low through Lyle six minutes later. Tony Hand then reshuffled his lines and put a lot more traffic in front of the Bison goal to confuse the defence. And it worked as Psurny made it a one goal game with less than 10 minutes to go. Basingstoke replied almost immediately through man of the match Joe Rand but James Archer latched on to Hand’s wonder pass to set up a tense finish. Phoenix pushed for the equaliser and thought they’d completed the comeback when Psurny tipped past Lyle. But they were to be cruelly denied and with boos ringing out Bison stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points. The weekend started and ended badly for Manchester as they were also beaten 4-2 at the Swindon Wildcats on Saturday evening. James Neil opened the scoring for the visitors but Thomas Fojtik equalised. Richard Bentham then put Phoenix ahead but it was the last time they held it as Michal Kapicka levelled before the end of the first period. Aaron Nell scored in the second period and Jonas Hoog gave the Wildcats both points in a lively third. Phoenix now lie four points behind Basingstoke in second with both sides playing 21 games. Meanwhile, Manchester will take on the Great Britain under 20 squad at the Altrincham Ice Dome on December 6 (7pm). The game has been arranged to give the youngsters a valuable practice match before they head off to take part in the Under 20 World Championships Division 1 Group B tournament in the Ukraine. They will play hosts Ukraine, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland in a round robin series between December 10 and 16. To contact the author email: Mike.Appleton@prohockeynews.com

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