Having failed to score a single goal at home in 2016, the Phantoms got back to scoring and winning ways on Sunday with a 7-6 victory over the Manchester Phoenix.
The game saw both teams trading goals and fans in the period breaks looking to see what the highest aggregate scores were on the EPL history.
Phantoms took just under 4 minutes to score the first goal of the game when some nice cycling of the puck from Darius Pliskauskas and Eddie Bebris got the puck to the front of Stephen Fones goal where Ales Padelek was waiting to tip it past the Manchester netminder.
If the Phantoms thought it may be an easy game against the shorter benched Phoenix they were given a rude awakening as the visitors found a way past Janis Auzins 3 times in a 4 minute spell.
Michal Satek was set free on the breakaway by Mark Thomas on 8.23 and neatly cut across Auzins goal before backhanding the puck into the goal. Under 3 minutes later and Staek claimed his, and the Phoenix’s, 2nd of the night. Robin Kovar broke down the wing before firing the puck across the goal to Satek who was at the back post for the easiest of tip-ins.
Phantoms found themselves 3-1 down a minute later when James Archer sent a pass from his own goal line to new boy Martin Baranek, who collected the puck on the Phantoms blue line and on the breakaway gave Auzins no chance. The goal signalled a Phantoms 30 second timeout as Coach Slava Koulikov looked to reassure his players.
Phantoms took just 2 minutes to halve their deficit when a scramble in front of Fones goal saw the puck fall to Milan Baranyk who lifted it over the sprawling Fone and into the back of the net.
Phantoms drew level 7 minutes into the middle period of action. Craig Scott broke down the wing and his pinpoint pass found Milan Baranyk at the back post to fire into the empty net.
Brad Moore netted his first senior goal for the Phantoms on 34.25 to give the home side a 4-3 advantage. Phoenix lost the puck on their blue line and Baranyk picked it up and broke down the wing, before sending a pass to Moore. The youngster cooley brought the puck onto his forehand before shooting low past Fone.
A minute later and it’s all square once more. With Satek sitting a hooking penalty for the Phoenix, then win a face-off in their own zone and Kovar releases former Phantom James Archer on a breakaway which see’s Archer deke Auzins to pull him out of position before firing home.
30 seconds later and the Phantoms finally make use of the Satek powerplay. Lloyd Gibson’s shot from distance rebounds off the plexi behind the goal and falls to Darius Pliskauskas at the back post to slide into the empty goal.
They say that Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but a minute later and the Phoenix equalise through a similar goal to the Phantoms last one. Satek rifled a shot on goal that came off the plexi behind Janis Auzins net and fell to Robin Kovar at the back post who controlled the puck before lifting it over Auzins .
A 5th goal in the 4 minute spell see’s the Phantoms take a 6-5 lead into the second break when Scott Robson’s slapshot from the blue line rebounded off of Fones pads and straight into the past of Lloyd Gibson to score on 38.10
A nervous final period saw the visitors make it a 6-6 game on 48 minutes in controversial style. Robin Kovar send a shot from distance that was followed in by James Archer who tipped the puck under Auzins, but also collided with the Phantoms netminder. Whilst the Phantoms players looked for an interference call, referee Andy Miller was happy to let the goal stand.
The game winner came in 54 minutes and signaled Milan Baranyks hatrick goal. Scott Robsons pass from Blue line was picked up by Baranyk in the slot and with no-one around him he took his time to fire past Fone and give the Phantoms a hard earned 2 points.
Man of the Match went to Michal Satek for the Phoenix and Milan Baranyk for the Phantoms.