EPL ICE HOCKEY
Manchester Phoenix 6 Guildford Flames 0
Manchester Phoenix returned to the top of the EPL on Sunday night, after they thumped erstwhile league leaders Guildford Flames.
Second-placed Phoenix went into Sunday’s game on the back of a hard-fought penalty shootout win away at Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday, and were without key goal scorer Frantisek Bakrlik who limped out of the game after two periods. Flames were also without a number of vital players through injury, including Marcus Kristoffersson and Curtis Huppe.
Phoenix had an early goal disallowed when an effort by James Archer was ruled out after just four minutes, but that was the only clear chance in a tight, scrappy first half which saw both teams play a conservative game.
Phoenix captain Luke Boothroyd broke the deadlock with a power play goal four minutes into the second period, and Michal Psurny doubled the lead on 27 minutes.
Robin Kovar scored the goal of the night at the end of the second period, a superb, weaving move that took him across the face of the goal to slot in a third for Phoenix.
Flames were working hard but their lack of firepower was telling, and as legs began to tire, three goals in four minutes killed the tie. James Archer bagged another power play goal on 48 minutes and Kovar grabbed his second a minute later. After a sustained period of pressure, Robert Schnabel smashed in a sixth on 52 minutes.
The tempo of the game slowed slightly in the final stages, but Phoenix were still strong in defence and denied Guildford a couple of late opportunities to snatch a consolation goal. The win sees Phoenix now on top of the league, level on points with Basingstoke Bison but with two games in hand, and a point ahead of Guildford but with three games in hand.
Phoenix are at home to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday December 29, and the game starts at 5:30pm.