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23rd September 2006
|Referee: P Staniforth|
|Match complete||Manchester Phoenix|
|2 : 2 : 2 = 6||Goals||2 : 0 : 0 = 2|
|20 : 13 : 6 = 39||Shots||10 : 10 : 13 = 33|
|11 : 8 : 32 = 51||Penalties in Minutes||23 : 2 : 34 = 59|
Sheffield Steelers 6-2 Manchester Phoenix
Both sides at full strength.
Steelers ran a major ticket promotion for the resumption of the War of the Roses derby and 6,965 fans saw an action-packed game full of goals and fights and desperate defence, as Zero Tolerance ensured penalties galore. Judging by the noise from the stands they loved it ! Sheffield took the points by making their powerplays pay, though Tony Hand and Johan Molin combined to net 2 short-handed markers on the same Timmons slashing penalty which brought the fast skating Phoenix level in the 14th minute of the opening session. Shaun Sutter and Cardiff lad Phill Hill bagged 2 a-piece, with Jonothan Phillips and Brett Clouthier completing the scoring.
Phoenix had nearly 4 minutes of 5-on-3 inside a spell of 4:56 powerplay halfway through the final period, but failed to make it count as Sheffield held on to their 4 goal lead and both points.
Phoenix' Derek Campbell and David Vychodil took early penalties to give Sheffield 44 seconds of 5-on-3 with Jason Wolfe blanking Phillips, Rod Sarich and Dan Tessier. 6 seconds after Campbell returned Scott Basiuk and Shawn Maltby went toe-to-toe for 5 minutes fighting each, with Campbell back in the box for roughing as well. Maltby played little further part in the game. Shaun Sutter made the powerplay count, wrapping home at Wolfe's right post (3:08).
Both sides killed single minors with routine saves, before Sarich went the length of the rink 10 minutes in and drew Ryan Watson into a holding penalty en route. Wolfe saved one shot before Vychodil accidentally shot the puck out for a delay of game penalty and Steelers made the 2 man advantage tell. With Brett Clouthier missing with skate difficulties, Hill was pushed onto the powerplay and he made the most of it, blasting home Tessier's rink wide pass at the back door (11:14). Back at even strength Wolfe made a fine double-stop from Tessier and Hill with KC Timmons taking a slashing penalty. But Phoenix amazingly tied the game after first Molin burst up the left and Hand arrived at the far post to squeeze the puck home (13:39), then Hand returned the compliment with Molin netting from the left (14:04).
Sheffield upped the ante but Wolfe was in fine form, twice denying Tessier with particularly eye-catching top shelf glove saves. Ex-Manchester Jason Hewitt took a holding the stick penalty and talked his way to an additional unsportsmanlike 2 minutes. Phoenix pressed hard on the powerplay, but only Campbell, Simon Mangos and Vychodil forced saves as the home defence blocked most shots.
Sheffield started the second period strongly, Tessier and Ben Gustavson testing Wolfe before the goalie made a great stop at his right post from Phil Hill. From the resulting face-off, Regan Darby's left wing shot rang the near post. Soon after Hill was again blanked close-in by a great save.
The game started to open out with chances coming evenly at either ends without threatening a goal. Clouthier returned to the ice and fired in from the right wing. Two minutes later Gustavson released Phillips for a burst down the right and his cross-ice pass was fired home first-time by Shaun Sutter (30:35) with Wolfe standing no chance. The home side were clearly on top and Clouthier added a screamer form the left face-off spot (31:54).
But the home side ran into penalty problems, Sarich's hooking penalty seeing 6 shots from the Phoenix but none reached the net. When Ian Manzano took a holding penalty, Robin Gomez failed to convert right on the doorstep and the puck was scrambled clear. Sarich and Maltby gave Phoenix 26 seconds of 5-on-3 late in the period but Lehman didn't have a save to make.
With Maltby's penalty still running at the start of the final session, Manzano's hooking penalty produced another 29 seconds of 5-no-3 and Hand almost netted from the left, but Jody Lehman just managed to turn the puck to safety. With Maltby back, Mangos found Hand at the right post but Lehman made the save and blocked Gomez before Steelers got back to full strength.
Campbell's elbows penalty shifted the momentum and Gustavson broke down the left, finding Phillips arriving at the far side to rifle home another powerplay strike (46:01). Steelers kept up the pressure and Mark Thomas' shot from distance produced a scramble at the crease involving Clouthier. Wolfe slashed the forward and Radolslav Hecl stepped up to take on the Steeler for fighting majors with Wolfe assessed a slashing penalty was well. Back on the powerplay another sweeping move saw Hill burying the puck high from another cross-ice pass (48:22) and he was immediately jumped on by the Phoenix defenceman. Pretty much everyone on the ice paired off and when the ice chips had fallen Vychodil and Phiilips had fighting majors with Darby and Campbell also taking fighting majors, Campbell gaining an additional 2+10 for his troubles with Tessier's roughing penalty ensuring the sides continued 5-on-5.
Just 31 seconds later Sheffield's long run of penalties started, Sarich taking a slashing penalty plus an unpsortsmanlike conduct call. One save from Hand and 47 seconds later Scott Ricci joined him for tripping. With 17 seconds left before Ricci retuned Manzano fired the puck out for a delay of game, but only Basiuk had tested Lehman as the home defence blocked shot after shot. So Phoenix called a timeout at a face-off near Sheffield's net but the pattern continued with just one save from Mangos, before Sutter took a cross-checking penalty. At this point Sheffield had 6 players in the penalty box !
Still the home defence denied shots and eventually Phoenix took a too many men penalty to give the home side some relief. But the entertainment wasn't over, as Clouthier stepped out of the box to go toe-to-toe centre ice with Gomez. Another pair of fighting majors for the players and the rematch in Deeside tomorrow evening could be interesting after the fisticuffs on display tonight...
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