Ola Bjerkevoll reports, as Campbell grabs a second-successive hat trick, and Guildford maintain a return to winning form.
Guildford Flames hosted bottom of the table Manchester Phoenix in the Guildford Spectrum on Saturday, and a 5-3 win was a welcome sight for Paul Dixon’s men. The result means they are still stuck in the bottom half of the table, but this deserved victory, following on from last week’s success over Bracknell, will instil further and much-needed confidence.
Manchester started off on the front foot but a good second period that included a hat trick for Ben Campbell saw the Flames take a lead that Manchester could not claw back.
It was the visitors who took the lead three minutes into the first period, but Matej Kralj made sure that the teams went back in the tunnel with the score level after the first period.
Then came a Guildford siege on the Phoenix goal as the teams went back out onto the ice for the second period. Denis Bell in the Manchester goal turned himself in to a brick wall and stopped everything coming his way in the first six minutes before Ben Campbell managed to find a way past Bell. Campbell was assisted by new signing Michal Satek, so hot off the press there wasn’t even time to print his name on the back of his shirt.
Guildford continued the assault on the Manchester goal and again Bell refused to let any of the shots go past for another six minutes. But again it was Campbell who found an opening and he smashed the puck into the bottom corner behind Bell to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
Two more goals came during the second period as Gareth O’Flaherty pulled one back for Manchester four minutes before the break. Manchester were hoping that they could keep the deficit to one goal, but Campbell clearly wanted the two-goal cushion back and completed his hat trick just 43 seconds before the end of the period.
The third period started with a bang as Jens Eriksson put the Flames 5-2 up after just 29 seconds. After that it was just a matter of keeping the puck passed around the home team and only a defiant Bell in the Manchester goal kept the score line respectable. Manchester pulled one back with 30 seconds to go but at that point it was too little too late and Guildford cruised to a 5-3 win.