Manchester Phoenix 5 Milton Keynes Lightning 2

Manchester Phoenix suffered a late sucker punch in the first of their back to back games against the Lightning on Saturday, but exacted sweet revenge at home last night to keep up their presence in the EPL title race.

With goals from Joachim Flaten and Derek Campbell, Phoenix were leading 2-1 with less than five minutes to go in Milton Keynes on Saturday, but were caught napping twice within 20 seconds to lose 3-2.

Sunday’s game in Altrincham was played at a frantic pace, and Lightning had already hit the post twice before a Phoenix break saw James Archer give Manchester the lead after just one and a half minutes.

Phoenix captain Luke Boothroyd doubled the lead on 16 minutes, before Blaz Emersic pulled a goal back for MKL a minute later.

Ondrej Pozivil restored Phoenix’s two goal lead near the end of the second period, but nerves were jangling just 13 seconds into the third period, when Kamil Tvrdek made it a one-goal game again.

It was player coach Tony Hand who calmed things down slightly when he bagged a fourth for Phoenix on 43 minutes, though Milton Keynes still piled on the pressure throughout the final 15 minutes and the Phoenix defence experienced a torrid time.

But when Lightning pulled goalie Alex Mettam for the extra skater in the closing seconds, man of the match Pozivil slipped the puck through to Joachim Flaten to score in the empty net and make the points safe.