Last weekend (just gone) was defiantly what the doctor ordered! After a run of three defeats it was nice to have a weekend facing Hull and Edinburgh. Two teams I would expect the Phoenix to take 2 points from. After an usual home game (it was on a Saturday! Whats all that about!) and a long road trip up to Scotland the day after the Phoenix got back to winning ways with a superb 4 point weekend! Highlights, defiantly Smurf’s shutout on Saturday and TH’s hat-trick up in Edinburgh! Ah well Mr Hand you’ll need to wait for number 4,000!
Anyway onto the game last Saturday:
As with any game the Phoenix play against the lower placed team I always go to the Dome with the expectation to win, but with a slight sense of unease! As has quite clearly been shown any team can beat any other in this league!
So the Phoenix were without Mulherin, who's shoulder injury does not seem as bad as first feared. But other than that we were at full strength!
First Period: A quick start by the Phoenix saw the team exert early pressure upon Cruickshank in the Hull goal. It was obvious from the off that apart from Cruickshank it was a fairly poor Hull team. Im not sure why as games v Hull in the past have been difficult affairs. That being said the Phoenix still had to put the puck in the net, thankfully they did this at 10minutes with Alex Dunn getting the scoreboard off the mark. A second followed from the stick of Beauregard and the Phoenix went into the break 2-0 up. The shot count showed how (almost) one sided the opening 20 was, with Murphy facing 4 shots and Cruickshank facing 15!!
Second Period: This saw a bit of a fight back from Hull and thus restricted the Phoenix to just the one goal for the period. A powerplay.....yes powerplay.....strike from Luke Fulgham ensured the Phoenix stayed on top.
Third Period: The main objective of this period was to ensure the Phoenix would not throw-away the lead built up. As always the next goal is crucial, and it was the Phoenix who got it! A second PPG goal from the stick of Kyle Bruce more or less put the game to bed. A fifth marker from Josh Garbutt ensure the two points and all that was left was to help Smurf get his first shut out of the season. In the end the Phoenix held on to get the win, the two points and a shut out
Verdict: An important game for the Phoenix, against a difficult team we had to get the win! In the end im not sure the real Stingray's turned up. It was a little one sided at times, but a win is a win! Good display from the referee tonight as only 8 penalties were handed out to both teams.
Attendance: Probably 1,000-1,200 in on saturday, not helped by an usual saturday night face-off and arctic conditions outside and inside the dome. Despite this good noise and hearty support for the team.
Glancing around the league over the weekend threw up some impressive results, with time im becoming more convinced that this is the most competitive season yet in the EIHL! Its also nice that us so called ‘small’ teams are mixing it up regularly with the so called ‘big’ boys!
Reading the Breakaway blog I have to agree with Paul’s comments here: British Hockey Blog resulting from the Bison knocking the Panthers out. Its always pleasing to see people with such blinkered views on the league proved wrong! So well done to the Bison long may you do well, except when playing the Phoenix of course!
P.s tomorrow I will post the second instalment of my Banners in Manchester posts, this time with a picture of the new banner and a banner with a more international feel!
P.p.s im also putting together a post prompted by the NEP comments on the challenge cup. Expect a rant coming on!!