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Bracknell 0-6 Manchester Phoenix

Adam Walker
Adam Walker, above, got on the scoresheet in the Phoenix rout

Manchester Phoenix hammered Bracknell Bees on Saturday to up the pressure on English Premier League leaders Milton Keynes.

Canadian star Ed Courtenay led the way with two goals, and afterwards his team dismissed rumours the former NHL man was set to leave the team.

"Ed is happy here. He is a Phoenix player and won't be leaving," said general manager Andy Costigan.

Iain Bowie, Joe Graham, Adam Walker and Andre Mattsson got the other goals.

Bracknell may have cause to feel the scoreline did not accurately reflect their part in the game, but Manchester's quality and stamina told over the full 60 minutes.

The Bees were unlucky to be a goal down after the first period, paying the price for a lapse in concentration as Courtenay rounded netminder Carl Ambler having been left all alone.


But in the second period, having watched Bracknell waste a five-on-three power play, Phoenix stepped up a gear and opened up a three-goal lead.

Bowie turned the puck home from close range for the second, before Ambler allowed Graham's long strike to slip past him.

Walker slipped the puck underneath Ambler after Ben Wood's wayward strike to make it four, Haiti-born Swedish import Mattsson bundled a fifth into the net, and Courtenay rounded off the win in style with a vicious shot into the top left-hand corner of Ambler's net.

"The team played well," Courtenay, 41, told BBC Sport.

"It's hard when you're only playing every sixth day or so. The first period is usually our Achilles heel but we played OK, got the cobwebs out and were fortunate to come out with a goal.

"As the game progressed we dominated, not just on the scoresheet but on the ice. The last two periods were probably our best hockey of the season."

Courtenay said he was "very happy" in Manchester following speculation the former San Jose Sharks forward's days at the team were numbered, owing to either the lower standard of hockey in the league or financial reasons.

When he scores a goal like his second here, the skip in his step as he wheeled away tells you he's very happy in Manchester

Phoenix general manager Andy Costigan

General manager Costigan added: "When you look at Ed's face you rarely see a smile, so people think he's miserable, but Ed is very happy here.

"Whether he's happy with the level of hockey - he keeps that to himself. The big thing is he turns out for us, he plays, and he scores points.

"When he scores a goal like his second here, the skip in his step as he wheeled away tells you he's very happy in Manchester."

Phoenix dropped down from the Elite League to the Premier League over the summer for financial reasons. They now sit alongside Milton Keynes at the top of the league with 18 points.

Bracknell, who themselves struggled through an ownership crisis during the off-season and began the new campaign with a weakened team, have recorded just two wins in their opening 11 fixtures.

The Bees remained eighth in the 10-team league after Saturday's games, with neither of the teams below them - Peterborough Phantoms and Romford Raiders - in action.

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see also
Phoenix boss confirms new line-up
27 Aug 09 |  Ice Hockey
New look line-up confirmed by EPL
15 Jun 09 |  Ice Hockey
Bracknell appoint new head coach
28 May 09 |  Ice Hockey
Live ice hockey from BBC Sport
17 Sep 08 |  Ice Hockey

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