Phoenix tame the Cats for showdown with the Dogs
EPL ICE HOCKEY PLAYOFFS:
Quarter final, second leg:
Manchester Phoenix 4 Swindon Wildcats 0
(Phoenix win 6-1 on aggregate)
Manchester Phoenix put on a display of top class finishing against Swindon Wildcats to set up a mouth-watering playoff semi-final against Sheffield Steeldogs.
Phoenix had the luxury of icing a full squad for the first time all season and started as if they intended to put the game to bed early on. After incessant pressure they took the lead on 8.01 with a neat snapshot by James Archer, after great work by Stephen Wallace found Tom Duggan to pass to Archer who beat Tom Murdy in the Wildcats’ goal.
Despite dominating the game, and outshooting the visitors 16-8, Phoenix were unable to extend their lead and went to the first break 1-0 and 3-1 on aggregate.
Phoenix looked to finish the Wildcats off in the second and scored the vital second goal that broke Swindon’s resolve on 21.03. A superb pass out of defence found Tom Duggan, who in turn found his linemate James Archer who made no mistake for 2-0. With Juraj Faith in the box on a boarding call, Phoenix wrapped up their ticket to Coventry with a delightful short handed goal by Tom Duggan. Jaroslav Spelda found James Archer who fed Tom Duggan in on netminder Murdy and, after neat footwork, slid the puck into the net for 3-0 timed at 27.12. Two minutes later and the Dome rocked as Phoenix made it 4-0 on the night as Stephen Wallace got on the scoresheet to totally demoralise the Wildcats.
A demoralised Swindon swapped goaltenders at the start of the third period as Dean Skinns replaced Tom Murdy and managed to stop the rot with 15 saves. Phoenix ran down the clock to end the game at 4-0 and a convincing 6-1 aggregate win that sees the home favourites in Coventry next week for the finals.
Phoenix will now take on close rivals Sheffield Steeldogs in the Saturday night semi final and renew the intense rivalry with Andre Payette’s men.