Phoenix claim win in home opener

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Manchester Phoenix logo Phoenix completed a four-point opening weekend after seeing off the challenge of Milton Keynes Lightning in Deeside on Sunday evening.

Stanislav Gron scores the Phoenix's second goal (Image: Richard Amor Allan)After a comprehensive win in Hull the previous evening, Phoenix welcomed a new-look MK Lightning outfit to their new home for the 2015/16 season. In an open and end-to-end first period, it was Phoenix who grabbed the only goal on their first Powerplay opportunity of the night through Slovakian Stanislav Gron at 15:33. Gron’s shot from the left hand circle took a deflection past MK netminder Dean Skinns, with assists from Robin Kovar and Nico Aaltonen.

The second period followed a similar pattern with 12 shots apiece, but it was once again Phoenix who scored the only goal late in the period. After MK survived a 5 on 3 Powerplay and a four minute penalty against Leigh Jamieson, Gron buried his second of the night at 38:16 just as the visitors returned to full strength.

The final period saw MK come back into the game but two bizarre goals gave Phoenix a healthy cushion. Firstly, Robin Kovar saw his shot come off the back of the netting behind the goal before hitting Skinns and going in at 41:12. Then Kovar attempted to score with his skate, but was denied by Skinns with James Archer reacting first to grab the rebound at 43:33.

MK registered 18 shots in the third period as Phoenix began to take a series of penalties, and netminder Steve Fone managing to keep the visitors out until 49:32 when MK captain Adam Carr struck. Soon after, Leigh Jamieson further reduced the arrears with a Powerplay goal at 52:23 but despite further penalties, Phoenix held out for a deserved win.

Coach Tony Hand commented: “Tonight was always going to be a tough game against a talented MK side. It’s been a hard weekend and our players started to tire towards the end of the game but we looked a real threat throughout both games which bodes well for the season ahead.”

Phoenix’s are next at home on Sunday 20th September against Guildford Flames with a 6;30pm face-off.

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