This saw the first visit of the Blaze to the Ice Dome this season, I was quite surprised when I looked at the fixture list! Seems quite late to be playing a team for the first time in Alty!
I must make a quick comment on the Phoenix visit to Newcastle on Saturday 10th Jan, the Phoenix lost this came by the odd goal. Now its no bad thing loosing up in Newcastle, they are a tough team and it’s a tough place to go and get a result. However a sign of how far this team have come, im very disappointed that the Phoenix were not able to get at least a point. Now I didn't go to the game but reading the Phoenix forum regarding the game it seems like it was a bit of a stinker from the guys. Now each team can play a stinker, but if we want to move on from last season we need to start stringing wins together! Too often we get a couple of wins in a row then revert to last seasons, WLWLWLW etc…. Consistency is the key, even more so as we approach March, and the jostling for playoff berths begins.
Anyway, as I said, I did not go to the game so I cant comment much more than that! Onto Sundays game versus the Blaze, I didn't expect the Phoenix to win this one, but I thought we had a glimmer of hope as the Blaze have been wobbling recently. Before the game I was happy for a point!
First Period: Well the Blaze came out flying, either that or the Phoenix did not know what to expect and were asleep! After a frenetic two minutes the Blaze took the lead, when Watkins was found all alone in front of the Phoenix net, he made no mistake and rifled the puck home. After that rude wake up call the Phoenix came back to life and began to ease back into the game. The rest of the period was end to end hockey with Murphy and Perras called upon to make some fine saves. So come the end of the period I was disappointed to go in one down, but encourage by the fight back by the Phoenix.
Second Period: After a delay of ten minutes due to the away goal not settling in its moorings, why is it away goalies always have a problem with our nets? I don’t see Murphy complaining every game? Anyway that’s a whole different argument for a different post. More of the same in the second period, however I did feel the Phoenix were coming into the game and offering some decent resistance to the Blaze. So imagine the delight when the Phoenix finally got on the board in the 37th minute when Mulherin fired the puck into the net. Joy quickly turned to despair when, less than a minute later, Weaver broke down the wing and fired a scorching shot past Murphy. 2-1 Blaze and a goal Smurf will defiantly want back. So the period ends, with a definite sense of deflation in the Dome! Never mind 20 minutes of hockey left!
Third Period: No goals in the third period but some fine end to end hockey again! By this time the ice at the Dome was pretty cut up, two intervals of on ice driving by our sponsor’s car’s certainly didn't help! The Phoenix really did throw everything at the Blaze, im pretty sure I saw the kitchen sink on the ice! Sadly it was not to be and the Blaze hung on for the win!
Verdict: A tough weekend for the Phoenix and a bit of a disappointing one! Null point is never a good weekend! It was a great game against the Blaze and one the served to show how far this seasons team has improved over last year! However it also showed that while we are good, we are not quite up to the standard of the top 4. In the end I think the Phoenix did themselves proud, however I did think we deserved a point at least! Another note, please Mr Hick’s stop reffing!!
Attendance: Not the best crowd in last night, id say around 1,100.
Manchester Evening News Article