Phoenix Depose Wildcats

Manchester Phoenix 5 Swindon Wildcats 0

Swindon Wildcats fell to a resounding defeat in North Wales on Sunday evening, after finding themselves unable to keep up with the flight of the Phoenix. Total Sport's Danny Gallagher was rink side at the Deeside Ice Arena.

 

Following a hard-fought battle against Hull Pirates on Saturday, Swindon Wildcats headed to Deeside to take on Manchester Phoenix in their own back yard for the third time this campaign.

 

They may have been hoping to avoid any lingering seasickness from the Pirates clash, but Aaron Nell’s side began the first period sluggishly and soon found themselves under the cosh.

 

The home side, spurred on by a vocal home crowd quickly began to find their footing after a tentative opening, and started to dictate the puck in the centre of the ice.

 

Martin Baranek first went close for the Phoenix, finding a vacant inch of ice after crossing the blue line and drilling a solid shot down the throat of Stevie Lyle. The veteran Cats’ ‘keeper was equal to it, but it was a warning sign of things to come.

 

As the chants reverberated off the walls of the Deeside Ice Arena, the deadlock would soon be broken.

 

Star imports Michal Satek and Stanislav Gron linked up well, high up the ice on the Phoenix right flank. Oozing flair and panache, the pairing soon slipped their markers and worked the puck into the danger area. Gron seized an opening and poked the puck through to a waiting Trent Hope, who merely had to make contact with the solid lump of rubber to find the bottom corner, leaving Lyle helpless.

 

As the cheers subsided, both sides lost a man in the aftermath, Harvey Stead received a two minute penalty for holding, while Phoenix goal scorer Hope also had to vacate the ice for two minutes for cross-checking.

 

The period wore on and the Wildcats tried to shake the shock of an early goal. A powerplay for the visitors saw Nell and Jonas Hoog go close, but Stephen Fone held tight between the Phoenix pipes.

 

The clocked ticked down and Phoenix were to inflict their second blow of the evening. Satek would again prove influential, as the main driving force behind a quick counter-attack. Satek threaded in James Archer, who caught Lyle off guard by taking the shot first time, making the Swindon net ripple as his effort nestled high beneath the pipes.

 

The second period saw more of a reserved tempo, with both sides taking turns to chip away at their counterparts.

 

Wildcats were far from their imperial best, going close on few occasions. Tomasz Malasinksi attempted to drag his side back into things as the period ebbed on, but his effort from the far right drifted past Fone’s pipes with little menace.

 

The best chance for the Wildcats came late in the period as Hoog switched up the gears and took to the Phoenix with pace. Linking up with Toms Rutkis, Hoog made himself available by slipping his d-man marker.

 

Rutkis picked out Hoog neatly, but the Swede’s flicked effort was miraculously saved by the in-form Fone, before momentum then saw the pair clatter into the back of the Manchester goal netting.

 

Phoenix remained on the hunt, and their efforts soon bore fruit once more. Denying Swindon any thinking time on the puck, the Phoenix players harried the Swindon D-line and soon caught Callum Buglass in possession.

 

Marching on Lyle in numbers, Phoenix made the best of their clear cut opportunity, as Robin Kovar slotted the puck under the Swindon netminder unassisted to notch the home side’s third goal of the evening.

 

As the buzzer sounded on the second period, Nell’s men knew they had it all to do. Yet to impose themselves on the scoreboard, the final 20 minutes was set to be a big ask.

 

Phoenix took to the ice for the final time fired up and keen to see out the tie. Things went from bad to worse for Nell’s men, as the home side soon plundered their fourth goal of the evening. Satek got the final touch as the puck bounced around in the danger area, flicking it past Lyle to open up clear water between the sides.

 

The puck dropped once more, as Lee Richardson received a two minute penalty for hooking. The heads of the Wildcats looked to have dropped, and their hosts were keen to inflict further misery.

 

Jumping on the powerplay, Phoenix bagged their fifth of the evening, Archer and Gron again exerting their dominance by linking up to assist Satek, who finished at the first time of asking for his second goal of the night.

 

Nell promptly opted to switch netminders, with youngster Jordan Hedley coming on to replace Lyle as the tie looked to have fallen beyond Swindon’s reach.

 

Phoenix extracted the tempo from the game in the dying minutes, as the lacklustre Wildcats side had little reply. Stevie Whitfield took a late penalty for tripping, while Sam Bullas soon joined him for charging, meaning the game finished five on three.

 

It would make little difference, as hosts Manchester Phoenix knew their work was done. The final buzzer sounded on a resounding 5-0 defeat for the Wildcats, their heaviest defeat in some while.

 

Man of the Match awards

 

Trent Hope – Manchester Phoenix

 

Vicky and Neil Davidson sponsored Carlo Finucci – Swindon Wildcats

 

You can read player-coach Aaron Nell giving his post-game thoughts HERE.

 

 

Tickets for the next Swindon Wildcats home game are on sale now.  Manchester Phoenix are our visitors next Saturday [January 16, 2015] with the opening puck dropping at 5:45pm.

 

Help the Wildcats in the Community scheme and make a donation TODAY!  In conjunction with Wiltshire and Swindon Sport, Wildcats in the Community is offering local people the opportunity to support local sporting causes through a unique crowd funding platform – find out how YOU can help HERE.

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