PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS 1 – 5 MANCHESTER MAYHEM
Saturday evening saw the Peterborough Phantoms home opener of the 2019 British Para Ice Hockey League, as they hosted the Manchester Mayhem at the Planet Ice Arena.
Mayhem came into the game as the top team in the league, whilst the Phantoms were looking to bounce back from their road loss to Cardiff the previous weekend.
Mayhem had the majority of the early puck possession, but were seeing few shots on David O’Meara in the Phantoms goal. Phantoms were content to let the visitors do all the skating, as they controlled the neutral zone and looked to hit Manchester on the break.
It was the visitors who finally opened the scoring on 5.45. An attack down the right saw Karl Nicholson pick out Anthony Booth unmarked at the back post to tip the puck into the empty Phantoms net.
Phantoms came close to leveling through Jamie Hutchcraft’s long range effort, and Scotty Trigg-Turner, but Darren Pomfret was keeping the Mayhem’s lead intact.
Phantoms grew in confidence as the period progressed and some big hits from Dan Grange and Jamie Hutchcraft rattled the visitors and lifted the Phantoms bench, as the team showed they weren’t going to be pushed around in their rink.
The second period was just over 3 minutes old when Karl Nicholson doubled the visitors lead with a shot through a crowded Phantoms goalmouth that left O’Meara unsighted.
Nicholson, Booth and Rob Allen all came close to extending the visitors lead as they squandered a number of 2v0 and 2v1 chances as the Phantoms were caught on the breaks. However with O’Meara pulling off some top shelf saves, and the experienced Trigg-Turner and Darren Brown helping out the defence, the period ended at 0-2.
The final 15 minutes saw the Phantoms push for their opening goal. Despite being 2 goals down, the teams confidence was building and Trigg-Turner nearly netted his first goal of the game, shortly followed by Ashley Greening.
Mayhem got their 3rd goal on 39.22 when Nicholson picked up possession in the Phantoms zone and fired his shot past O’Meara to give the visitors the safety marker they were after.
The only flashpoint of the game came on the 40 minute mark. Nicholson chased down a puck and reached it just as Phantoms netminder O’Meara went to cover the puck. Nicholson’s momentum saw him carried past O’Meara, but with O’Meara’s stick caught under his arm. As he skated back up ice, O’Meara had words which resulted in both players being called on 2 minute roughing penalties.
Three goals in the final 2 minutes of the game, showed why you should never leave a game early !
Mayhems Anthony Booth netted the Mayhem’s 4th goal after chasing down a loose puck in the Phantoms zone. He took the puck around the Phantoms goal before firing high up into the with 1.53 left to play.
Phantoms were nearly caught out again less than a minute later when a harmless clearance by Nicholson off the boards saw the puck head towards the Phantoms net, and some indecision from the Phantoms defenceman and Goalie nearly handed Mayhem another goal.
Peterborough’s Ashley Greening then found herself on a breakaway, but as she looked to shoot Mayhem’s Simon Berry managed to just knock the puck away. As Phantoms chased down the puck, and pressured the Mayhem’s defence, Manchester’s Pat Bailey backhanded clearance from behind his own net went straight to Scotty Trigg-Turner, who was positioned in front of goal and roofed the puck past Darren Pomfret with 17.2 seconds remaining.
Karl Nicholson completed his hat trick with just 2.4 seconds left on the clock. Graham Wilson hit the puck up ice and leading to O’Meara coming out of his goal to play the puck. Instead of hitting it to safety, he managed to knock it straight into the path of the on-coming Nicholson to skate the puck into the empty Phantoms net.
Man of the Match went to Ashley Greening for the Phantoms and Karl Nicholson for the Mayhem.