Sunday evening saw the Peterborough DALROD Phantoms travel North to face the reigning League Champions, the Manchester Phoenix, in a combined League and Cup game.
After Saturday nights heroics, in which the Phantoms defeated the Guildford Flames to record their first overtime victory in over 16 months, the Phantoms were looking to prove a point in Manchester. Last season the Phoenix inflicted the Phantoms heaviest road defeat, winning 11-0, but this season the Phantoms look a different prospect.
As with most games this season, or so it seems, the game started with an early goal. With 3.57 on the clock, former Peterborough Phantom James Archer put the homeside in the lead following some nice play from Tony Hand and Michal Psurny.
The goal spurred the Phantoms on with Steven Fone in the Phoenix goal being kept busy as Luke Ferrara and Alan Lack both came close to equalising for the Phantoms.
The Phoenix doubled their lead on 16.57 when Janis Auzins failed to hold Psurny’s initial shot, and the rebound dropped to James Archer who fired home his second of the game.
The second period started with Archer looking for his hatrick, but he was denied on a number of occasions by Auzins in the Peterborough Goal who was facing a large number of shots. The Phantoms did open their account on 24.17 when the Bebris, Koulikov, Pliskauskas line combined will to see Darius Pliskauskas break Fone’s shutout and bring the Phantoms back into the game.
The Phantoms goal saw the Phoenix turn up the pressure, and it was only some great saves from Auzins, and the pipework around the goal, which kept them from extending their lead, as they outshot the Phantoms by 21 shots to 13 in the middle 20 minutes.
The final period saw both teams looking for the decisive goal to make or break the game. On 44.44, and with Cam McGiffin sitting hos forst penalty of the season, it was James Neal of the Phoenix who fired past Auzins to give the home side the 2 goal margin.
Despite the goal the Phantoms kept battling, and when Phoenix hit penalty trouble it was only some superb saves from Fone that kept the Phantoms at bay. On 59.17 Manchesters Robin Kovar was adjudged a Hooking penalty, and knowing it was make or break time, the Phantoms pulled Auzins for the 6 on 4 advantage. From the corresponding face off, Phantoms won the draw and got the puck to James Ferrara who punished the Phoenix with a well taken goal to make it 3-2 with just 4 seconds of the penalty elapsed. Phantoms kept Auzins on the bench using the extra skater to keep the pressure on the Phoenix, but despite a valiant effort they couldn’t score the equalising goal to force overtime for a second successive night.
Man of the Match awards went to Jack Watkins for the Phoenix and Scott Robson for the Phantoms.