So here we are 2009 and the first game of the new year for the Phoenix. Coming into this game vs the Panthers the Phoenix had been in action over in Belfast the previous evening. From what I have heard the Phoenix were not at their best and went down 3-1. Even though we lost its good to see the boys did not let Mr Lyle get a shut-out!
Anyway enough about that….onto the Panther game!
First Period: Very even first period with a fair few chances being created and both Robinson and Murphy were on top form keeping the scoreboard at 0-0. Sadly a goal did come in the first and it went to the Panthers. Cook slotted the puck home on 17min and 3sec to give the Panthers the lead. I did not panic however as the Panthers were good in the first but not out-of-sight!
Second Period: More or less a carbon copy of the first period, but with one major deviation from that script! Mr Beauregard was left alone on the far post (teams always seem to do that!) and none other than Mr Hand found him! Its now a 1-1 game! Oh forgot to mention that was a PPG, yes the Phoenix made a PP work!
Third Period: Again another even period (broken record anyone….?). This time it was the Panthers who scored the go ahead goal through Bergin at 43min 32sec. No need to panic with 16mins left still plenty of time to score. The Phoenix did indeed level-up the game at 47min and 9sec when it was the turn of Fulgham to feed Beauregard and on the second attempt Beau slotted the puck through the legs of Robinson. Cue ecstatic scenes in the stands! Must also mention this was another PPG!
Now it really was anyone’s game! Thankfully at 52min and 4 sec Clouthier powered down the boards and released an absolutely stonking shot, which Robinson did get a glove to but the power of the shot took the puck through his glove and into the net! 3-2 Phoenix!
The Phoenix called a timeout not long after a couple of long hard working shifts, to give the guys a break. Then with about 2mins left the Panthers called a timeout and pulled Robinson from the ice to give them a man advantage at the end. Thankfully the Phoenix and Smurf played hard, committed defence and with one second left Ward scored an empty netter to give the Phoenix a 4-2 win!
Verdict: Good away support for the Panthers, I remember arriving at the Dome and seeing hardly any Phoenix fans! The Panther fans filled maybe two and a half blocks! Not bad, and more than double the table topping Steelers brought back in December.
As for the game, well a bit of a must win for the Phoenix to avoid a pointless weekend! A difficult proposition against the Panthers who were looking for their own 4 point weekend!
In the end it was a great game between two very evenly matched teams, OK the Panthers were missing a couple of imports but even with them I don’t think the Panthers are that far ahead of the Phoenix!
A deserved win for the Phoenix plus an interesting few mins reading the reactions on the Cage Fourm. It seems despite our league placing and the win over them, many Panther fans still dismiss the Phoenix.
Its interesting to read fans of the so called ‘top’ clubs still dismissing our club, in the end it makes wins over them ever so sweet!
Attendance: Good crowd in the Dome last night, im guessing about 1,500 in, plus, as always at the Dome, a great atmosphere!
...and finally, I will start to add links to the local rag's review of Phoenix games in my own Game Review posts. So here we go, click here if you want to read the Manchester Online take on last nights game.