By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Manchester Phoenix and Basingstoke Bison could not be separated after two meetings this weekend, with one victory apiece.
Phoenix claimed the bragging rights on Saturday away from home, triumphing 5-2 before the Bison bit back, inflicting a second home defeat on the Altrincham based team in a 3-0 win.
Juraj Faith scored a last second fifth goal on Saturday to add gloss to an important win for Phoenix after some indifferent form lately.
Top scorer Martin Cingel hit a brace in an impressive display, just two days after scoring in the Guildford Flames game.
James Archer, returning from injury, scored his first goal of the season and Player Coach Tony Hand hit the first goals of the match.
Netminder Steve Fone again won man of the match for Phoenix – an award he has been given several times already this season.
However, Basingstoke were clearly riled by a crushing home defeat and were in no mood to settle for a weekend whitewash.
Goals from Joe Miller, Steve Moria and Viktor Kubenko ensured the visitors had a happy trip home.
Phoenix’s task was made harder by the removal of Ryan Johnson with one period left, following a penalty for high sticks.
John Connolly made his Phoenix debut this weekend, having being brought in by Tony Hand to cover the mounting injury list at the Ice Dome.
Following the home defeat, Coach Hand was looking for positives.
He said: “Two points for the weekend are better than nothing, but I know it’s disappointing to come away empty handed at home.”
“We are missing Jaroslav Spelda and Ladzi Harabin, and they are a major presence on the ice. We’ll just have to ride it out and do our best until we are back to full strength.”
After this weekend’s fixtures, Phoenix have slipped to a disappointing sixth in the EPL table. Slough Jets lead the way but Phoenix will take hope from the fact they are only four points behind in a very close league this year.
Phoenix are next in action at the Ice Dome a week on Thursday, taking on arch rivals Sheffield Steeldogs with a 7.30 face off, following Saturday’s trip to Yorkshire. Tickets on the door or from www.manchesterphoenix.co.uk