EPL ICE HOCKEY:
Milton Keynes Lightning 1 Manchester Phoenix 4
Manchester Phoenix made it three wins in a row with a resounding win in Milton Keynes on Friday night. Phoenix, icing without player coach Tony Hand, welcomed Tom Duggan back to the ranks after a shoulder problem.
In an end to end first period, it was the visitors who had the upper hand and two goals from Martin Cingel quietened the usually boisterous home crowd. His first came on 12.47 assisted by Slava Koulikov and he doubled Phoenix’s lead four minutes later, this time assisted by Juraj Faith and Slava Koulikov.
Tom Duggan failed to appear for the second period, still troubled by his shoulder injury, but with six minutes gone in the second period, a third goal for Phoenix sent the large contingent of Phoenix fans into raptures. The in-form Slava Koulikov scored with an assist from captain Luke Boothroyd.
There was no more scoring in the period as Phoenix played a good road game, closing down the shooting lanes thus reducing Lightning to long range efforts that Stephen Fone dealt with comfortably.
The third saw Lightning come more into the game but the Phoenix rearguard were having a huge game and spent most of the period picking off passes in mid ice and setting up the counter attack. With 90 seconds left on the clock, Martin Cingel rounded off an excellent evening with his hat trick goal, assisted by James Archer and James Neil. Milton Keynes broke a deserved shutout for Fone with just 13 seconds to go when Blaz Emersic scored, but by this time the points were in the bag and most of the home crowd had gone home.
Phoenix Coach Hand said: “A fantastic performance by the lads. It is never easy to win here. Stephen Fone came up big when we needed it and the team played an intelligent game all night to earn the points. That is three wins in a row and takes us into the New Year on a high.”