The Angry Budgie Live

Monday, 23 February 2009

Phoenix v Basingstoke 22nd February Game Review or Not!!

Saturday saw the Phoenix travel down to Hampshire for an away game with the Bison. Always a tricky game but the Phoenix skated away with a 5-2 win. Sunday saw the reverse fixture with the Bison at the Ice Dome, and the Phoenix fans hoping for another 4 point weekend. But it was not to be….onto the game!

This was no normal game, stood in the que at about 4.30pm Tony Hand was chatting away and had mentioned the Bison bus had broken down and they were unsure as to when the team would arrive. Then Phoenix owner Neil Morris came out and rounded up the waiting fans to explain what was happening. In a nutshell:

  1. The Bison bus had exploded (more or less) around Birmingham.
  2. The team were awaiting a replacement bus.
  3. They could not retrieve their bags from the original bus.
  4. Expected to get to Altrincham around 7.30pm (so a delay of at least 2 hours to face off)
  5. Bison had offered to scratch the game if we gave them the 2 points (as they needed them most).

Neil then asked the fans waiting what we would want to do, especially given the last point everyone opted to delay face off and await the Bison arrival.

So in we go and settle down and around 1 hour after getting in, Neil came out on the ice to deliver the news. Basically at 5.20pm ish, the Bison were still waiting for their new coach. He explained that they still hoped to get to Altrincham for 7.30pm but they would need a 20min rest, followed by the usual 20min warm up. So we were really looking at an 8.30pm face off, some 3 hours after the normal start time and 4 hours after the doors opened. With that the teams had agreed to re-arrange the fixture, and a hastily arranged scrimmage and skills competition was put on by the Phoenix players.

This was great fun, and the highlight for me was the performance of Josh Garbutt and Nathan Ward in net! A great scrimmage game of two 20minute (ish) period saw the scores tied at 13 a piece. After the game a short skills competition followed comprising a team relay race and a penalty shot competition.

I have to say a big thank you and well done to the Phoenix organisation and players for coping with a difficult situation. There must have been no doubt most people wanted the game versus the Bison. But an entertaining, if not short, night was had by all! If you check out the Phoenix forum most people have picked up on how well this team seem to get on with each other! It was evident last night that the guys have fun, and enjoy being a team! This is great news for us fans!

Now I wanted to comment on something, which may also feature on the Five Minute Major and The Pyre blogs. What on earth gave the Bison the right to ask for the two points? Most people hit the roof when they heard this, it was’nt the Phoenix fault the game was going to be late! We were there, the team all in attendance, the ice was ready! We were waiting for the Bison! Now I know a coach blowing up is hardly the fault of the players, but they cant realistically think that a delay of almost 4 hours is acceptable to the home team and fans already at the rink!? Another thing too, while the Bison need the points, so do we!!!!! Were fighting Cardiff for 5th place, we want those damn points too! I do like the Bison, but im sorry I have lost a lot, if not all the respect I had for them after this little fiasco! What they demanded was simply shameful! Agree with me or disagree with me, I think it was simply a poor display by the Bison!

Anyway after all that the game has been re-scheduled for a week tuesday, the 3rd March.

MEN Article.

Link to the away game in Basingstoke.

Well its not quite full event highlights but here is a promo for the forthcoming Skills DVD of last Sunday's evening:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Tonights EIHL All Star Game

So tonight sees the first ever Elite League All Star game take place at the Coventry Sky Dome. Most of you will be aware of this and of the players from your team taking part. From the Phoenix we have:

David Alexandre Beauregard
Kenton Smith
Adam Walker

The Phoenix would have been represented by the Great One Tony Hand, as captain too, but rather wisely Tony has declined to appear in tonight’s extravaganza! Perfectly understandable as the Phoenix are in the middle of a busy league schedule and trying to qualify for two cup finals! I fully respect Tony’s decision, rather selfishly as it will aid the Phoenix to have a fighting fit Tony Hand in the line up! The other choices are no-brainers! A All Star game without the league’s leading goal scorer would be silly really! Kenton Smith is, arguable, one of the best D men in the league, and Adam has come along way this season!

Onto tonight’s game:

The Concept: I do like the idea of having an All Star game, it gives the chance for the players to let their hair down and have some fun. Along with the usual competitions it also allows them to free style and try a couple of things they could not, or would not be allowed to try in regular league games. I would, however, argue that mandating each team to select 4 players (two imports, two Brits) from the line-up of each team in the North or South, doesn’t really equal a team full of All Stars. It does mean that each team is fairly represented; it just means its not quite full of All Stars.

The Venue/Time: The SkyDome in Coventry, great venue, filled to the brim with fans from all teams will create a great atmosphere! Almost a mini play off finals weekend! However it wont! If you have read The Breakaway British Hockey blog, you will have seen Paul mention that as of yesterday only 400 tickets have been sold. This will not create a good atmosphere! It’s a real shame, I would have love to have gone down to see the leagues best. But a Thursday evening in Coventry? Most fans across the league will not be able to take the time off work to go, I know I cant! It would have been so much better to have it at a weekend! But then you run into scheduling problems with the remaining league games. Or have it at the end of the season, nope cant do that as the Playoff Finals weekend has always been seen as the show piece event at the end of the league season. So your left with a mid-season game in mid-week! Shame really!

Who Will Win? In my opinion the North will, I could say that is entirely down to having the league’s leading scorer on the bench but that would be selfish of me! In all seriousness the North has the resources of Belfast/Sheffield/Newcastle and Manchester. Four very strong teams in their own right! It will be a close game, a high scoring game, but I think the North will take it!

Complete Randomness: Yes that would be Hull being in the Southern All Star team, yes Hull, further north than Sheffield! If you had Hull in the North what does that mean for the balance of the game? You would then have Belfast/Newcastle/Hull/Manchester and Sheffield. In terms of geography you would have to bump Sheffield down into the Southern All Stars. This would leave Sheffield and Nottingham in the same team, obviously that sent the shivers through Elite Towers and it was left for poor Hull to be sent south!

Well after all that, if your going, enjoy yourself, if not who cares really! Paul at the Breakaway will be there running live (hopefully!) updates throughout the evening, so pop by if you want to stay up to date!

A final mention must go out to the Phoenix performance in Newcastle last night, this was the first leg of our Knockout Cup semi-final played in Whitley Bay. Before the start of this game I had hoped for a close encounter. I believed that either team could win the game, and as it was an away game for the Phoenix a close loss would do! Well I was wrong, by all accounts it sounds like the Phoenix played the perfect road game and came away with a 4-1 win. That included a Clouthier breakaway goal! One for the scrap book me thinks! This leaves the second leg set up nicely for the Phoenix, and a game they should close out to advance to their second final of the season! However it wont be easy, the Vipers have nothing to loose and will come at the Phoenix hard and fast!

Should be another corker at the Dome!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dave Simms = Tool!

Quite a provocative title I know, and please allow me a couple of minutes to explain the reasoning behind the title. As some of you good readers may know, a while back (link here) I published a post regarding a couple of articles published on the Nottingham Evening Post’s website following the Panthers elimination from the challenge cup. As you may remember my main beef with that article was that the journalist (find journo’s name) said that with the Panthers out of the competition that left no ‘well supported’ clubs left. I then knocked up a post trying to explain why I felt that was a shocking and ignorant comment. No doubt many of you will have disagreed with it, some may agree with me but hey in the end who cares!

So have you a cup of tea and a biscuit ready? We shall begin…….

Today’s post stems from Mr Simms regular piece in the Powerplay magazine. Before we begin I must point out that this article has not just now convinced me of Mr Simms toolness. I have thought that he is a tool for many years now! There are other words I could use, but I want to keep this a family friendly blog, so Tool will have to suffice.

Those of you who read the magazine regularly will have noticed the comment but for those who don’t here it is:

‘Here is one for you. The top four. They are all nailed on now as being the top four. I don’t think the top four will be the final four in the playoff’s. I hope they are because that will make for a better finals weekend’

The operative bit being that last sentence, in my mind this is a prime example why the rest of the league despises this man and the top four. This coupled with the sentiments in the NEP a couple of months ago just re-enforce the view that those connected with the top 4 are ignorant. Ok so I guess you could argue that my beef really is with Shuff and the Panthers, I just think that with both teams, their long histories etc…they have an ingrained belief that they deserve to win everything.

As with my post regarding a ‘well supported’ team I would argue that having the top 4 at the finals in Nottingham would not produce a better finals weekend! Who remembers the Shuff games last year, they were hardly exciting! I include the final in that comment! Ok so last year we had the Giants/Shuff/Coventry and Cardiff (so 3 of the ‘big’ 4). I don’t, and im sure many other fans, remember that weekend as being a shining example of all that’s great about UK hockey. I remember that weekend for all us Phoenix fans having a laugh, chanting our own chants along with all the other teams fans who were not there! Who else loved all the mascots getting in fights at the stage end and being silly? It was a cracking weekend, but not because of what was on the ice!
I would even go so far as to say a finals weekend without the top 4 may produce better hockey! There has been comments on both the Cage Forum and Shuff forum, at times, saying this player is not putting effort in or that player needs to kick it up a gear. I get the feeling they expect to make the finals weekend and when there, expect to win! This does not get the best out of a player! But if you take any of the other 4 teams who will qualify, I can guarantee you those players will work their socks off, strain every sinew, give 120% to get to the finals weekend, and when there will give blood/sweat and tears for every second! In the end the top 4 will always win trophies, the other 6 won’t! So when the ‘other 4’ make the finals weekend they will give more for the win!

Its for this reason I think a finals weekend without the ‘top 4’ would produce better hockey, as It means more to those clubs.

Then there’s the usual argument that the ‘top 4’ clubs will bring more fans to the finals weekend, yes they do, and it is true that if their teams don’t make it not as many fans will come/ I do, however, genuinely believe any fans of the ‘top 4’ who don’t come can be replaced by fans of the other 6! Just look at this years event, both Manchester/Newcastle teams have been given far less tickets than the finals weekend in 2008. This is utter madness, Manchester sold out their allocation in a day, near as damn it! The Phoenix have had to go back to the league to get another block opened up!
Its this kind of attitude from EIHL towers that sickens me, what was wrong with the allocations used in 2008? Have Manchester/Newcastle suddenly lost hundreds of fans? Both clubs season ticket base could have sold out their allocations and then some! Add to this the Devils, they always bring a large support from Cardiff! I don’t claim to have, or know, the answer but a little fairness would be appreciated!

Anyway after all that I got a little diverted towards the end there! I hope you have read my little rant with an open mind! As with my post about the NEP articles your more than welcome to put my ravings down to ‘just another small club fan etc….’ but I honestly believe that the ‘other 6’ clubs in the league are not given the respect they deserve by some clubs, and those in power at EIHL towers!

Final word about Mr Simms, while I detest the man with my every being, I am big enough to know that there are few, in this sport, who work harder or do more things to promote hockey in this country! For this reason I respect the man, but he is still and ignorant tool!

Sorry if that got a bit rambling towards the end, but I hope it was an entetaining read!

p.s. On the topic of the Hockey Finals weekend, you must keep reading the blog and the others linked over on the right. There are things in the works between the various bloggers/fan sites to bring you the most comprehensive preview/game interviews and reviews never seen before in UK hockey!

The Angry Budgie aims to be part of it, and in the run up to finals weekend along with more information on the fan coverage ill put together my own weekend preview! So hope you enjoyed the read, and as ever, support your local club!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Phoenix v Basingstoke 15th February Game Review

The second part of the Phoenix’ cup double header saw the Phoenix entertain the Bison at the Ice Dome Sunday night. A 15min delay caused by large que’s outside the Dome and one of the better away fan crowds made sure that this game was going to have a cracking atmosphere. A potentially tricky game, as with Hull Saturday night, games against the Bison have always be close affairs. However the Phoenix had the best start available to them, a 5-2 lead from the first leg. The prize to the winner would be their first ever final appearance against the Giants.

First Period: A tight opening period saw many chances, but some fine goal tending kept the game scoreless. That was until 5min 49sec when Mulherin was found on his own in the high slot and unleashed and absolute stonker of a shot that almost tore the net off its markings. This got the big crowd on its feet and singing! No more goals for the period but the Phoenix began to rain in the shots, if it was not for the superb Reiter the Phoenix could have been 4 or 5 up!

Second Period: The tie was more or less all said and done in the second period; with more and more Phoenix pressure it was only a matter of time before they increased their lead. It was down to the leagues leading scorer David Beauregard to get his first and second goals of the game at 30min 10sec and 37min 27sec respectively.

Third Period: As the result was a foregone conclusion the game by this point it opened up to produce some great end to end action. Sadly Murphy was denied his shutout when at 47min 25sec LeClair netted the Bisons only goal of the game. From memory it was this point when, for the second time in two nights both teams gave their back up netties some ice time. No consideration was taken and soon after Graeme Bird took to the Bison net Mulherin netted at 51min 06sec. David Beauregard increased his goal tally on 51min 31sec when he broke down the left wing, drove to the net and slid the puck under Bird’s legs. The scoring was completed at 54min 33sec when Bruce got his just rewards for a fine performance.

Verdict: The second tricky game of the weekend negotiated successfully and the Phoenix advancing to their first ever final. A great crowd in the Dome too, many first timers due to a recent local radio push. What a game to come to as well! This is what we need to do, lots of local promotions tied to a great game, I bet many of those first timers will come again after this game! A big shout must go to the travelling Bison fans, realistically they must not have expected to go through, but none the less made lots of noise and contributed to the great atmosphere!

Attendance: Including the great travelling support, one of the best crowds in the Dome this season. I would guess around 1,700 in Sunday night.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

MEN Article for the game.

p.s. Those of you who read the Powerplay magazine may also have read Dave Simms regular piece at the end. There is a comment contained within that piece that has annoyed me somewhat! So much so Im preparing my own little reply that should appear tomorrow!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Hull v Phoenix 14th February Valentines Day Special, Game Review

This game was the second leg of our Knockout Cup quarter final against the Stingrays, so on the ‘most’ romantic of days what could be better than a trip across the M62 to Hull! With a 4-0 lead from the first leg most of the 50-60 travelling Phoenix fans will have been in confident mood. I was of the opinion that if we scored first we should win! However Hull are no pushover and, depending on what mood Cruickshank, was in it could be difficult.

First Period: In the end we need’nt have worried, the Phoenix controlled the game from the first period, limiting the chances the Stingray’s had on Smurf. The Phoenix got on the board first at 13min 49sec when Kyle Bruce slammed the puck home. The Phoenix faithful were on their feet again less than two minutes later when our captain Kenton Smith doubled the lead at 15min 24sec to make it 0-6 on aggregate. The Phoenix closed out the period in control and leaving the Phoenix travelling support in fine voice.

Second Period: More of the same this period, the only difference being we missed out any action in the far corner due to the sight lines from the away block. Though I cant really comment as the Dome is not the shining beacon of rink design! More control from the Phoenix, more noise from the fans though none from the home support. I know the team was 0-6 down but come on sing for your team? Anyway the lead was extended at 25min 52sec when Fulgham lit the light. The Stingrays finally got on the board at 32min 20sec when Kalmikov (who was the Rays best player of the night!) netted.

Third Period: I may be wrong but I think at the start of the third, or near the start both teams replaced their starting net minders. With Andrew Jaszczyk replacing the excellent Cruickshank and Adam Summerfield coming in for the Phoenix. The next goal came at 52min 48sec when Beauregard rounded Jaszczyk to score the Phoenix 4th goal. The Stingrays were not to be outdone and in a minutes spell brought the score line a bit more respectability. Firstly Glowa at 57min 49sec and 58min 42sec saw Mitchell bring the Stingrays to within one on the night.

Verdict: A potentially tricky encounter on Humberside, thankfully the Phoenix controlled the game from start to finish, with the added bonus of Summerfield getting decent run out in the net. Great turn out from the Phoenix fans who were in full voice from start to finish.

Attendance: Probably around 500 in the Ice Arena Saturday night. With 50-60 of those being the travelling Phoenix support.

MEN article.

Am still working on my game review for the Basingstoke game from last night (sunday) that should appear, hopefully, tomorrow evening!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Big weekend ahead!

I wanted to do a blog post all about this coming weekend’s fixtures for the Manchester Phoenix. On Saturday we make the trip along the M62 to Hull, for the second leg of our British Knockout Cup game, which the Phoenix are currently leading 4-0. The Sunday game sees the visit of the Herd to the Ice Dome, for another second leg game, this time in the Challenge Cup. The Phoenix also led this tie by a score of 5-2.

The reason I think this is a big weekend for the Phoenix is simple; we have more of a chance of winning silverware through knockout competitions than the league. While I would dearly love hockey in Manchester to see another league triumph, after seeing the Manchester Storm lift the ISL title back in 1999, I just don’t think we have the resources to sustain a league challenge.
We could possibly break the top 4, but to mount a challenge for the summit I think is beyond us! It could happen, never say never, but I fear it would spell the end of hockey in Manchester. Our current fan base could not generate the money needed to win a league title, with out the backing of a major sponsor, and in today’s climate I doubt we could get it! I could be completely wrong but I don’t see it happening!

Anyway on to the weekends games:

Saturday 14th February – Hull v Phoenix – Knockout Cup 2nd Leg

As mentioned the Phoenix lead this tie 4-0, and the reward is the first final reached for the Manchester Phoenix, and Hull for that matter (if they win!). The winner will meet the Newcastle Vipers in the two-legged quarter final. I have to say the first leg (game review linked here) was pretty one sided, the Phoenix dominated and had it not been an excellent display by Cruickshank in goal the score could have been more. Even so, 4-0 is a good lead to take into the second leg. The family/gf and I will be making the trip across to Hull Saturday night, as will many Phoenix fans, in the hope the Phoenix can book its place in the final. I think this game depends on two things, Cruickshank and what mood he is in, and more importantly, what mood the Phoenix are in. In the grand scheme of things we should beat the Stingray’s, even in their barn! But its always tricky away in Hull, add to that the biggest carrot for both teams, the aforementioned final, Hull will be up for this as will their fans!
Calm heads will be needed on the Phoenix bench, strong leadership needed from Kenton and good tactics by Tony should see the Phoenix through. I see this game being very tight and the first goal will be crucial, the Phoenix must stay out of the sin bin too! We need to get Beauregard into the game and firing on all cylinders, we need Kyle Bruce to get in Stingray faces and we need the Cloots line to get in the corners and grind out the puck.
If we do all those things and deal with the main Stingray threats – Kalmikov/Kostadine and Glowa we should win through and see the Vipers in the quarter final. So a 4-0 lead and a visit to the rink with the best chips in the league, where else would you want to spend Valentines day with your girlfriend!

Sunday 15th February – Phoenx v Basingstoke – Challenge Cup 2nd Leg

After, hopefully, a good night in Hull the Phoenix return to action in the Ice Dome Sunday night. This sees the visit of the Basingstoke Bison and the second leg of our Challenge Cup tie. In the first leg the Phoenix raced to an early 4-1 lead, however it seemed we sat back and let the Bison back into the game. In the end the Phoenix won 5-3 and a lead is a lead! With a home leg, and the backing of a (becoming) notoriously noisy Ice Dome behind them I like our chances in this game! Games against the Herd have always been tough; the Bison are physical and annoy your players. They are quite capable of turning us over so are not to be taken lightly. This game will go much like the previous night, the result will depend on the mood of each team.
For the Bison I see their success depending on the excellent Kevin Reiter between the pipes. Each time I have seen the Bison in the Ice Dome, he has stood out as a star player, and numerous games could have seen double figures had it not been for Reiter standing on his head! Other than the big man between the pipes we have the impressive Eric Braff on D, hes got a cracking shot! Then there’s the, as always, annoying little git, Jeremy Cornish. Finally the main attacking threat, in my opinion, for the Bison comes from Greg Chambers. If the Phoenix can shut him down we should be ok!
Again this game is a biggie for each team, as again both teams see this as their best chance of silverware this season. The first goal, again, will be crucial! While the Phoenix have a lead it is only two goals. But if we come out flying from the 1st second and keep it going for 60 minutes we should be too strong for the Bison!
This is going to be a cracker of a game, a pumped up Ice Dome should create the most hostile environment for the Bison, bring it on!

So that’s it, my take on this weekends games for the Phoenix! I think we will win both games, but they will be tough! Check back next week for a double edition of my usual game review.

Come on Phoenix!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Phoenix v Coventry 07th February Game Review

As mentioned last week this will not be my usual game review, I spent the weekend in Norfolk visiting my Grandma so was unable to attend. Even that was not easy, originally we set off for Bournemouth for a funeral, but 10 hours later and much snow we made it to Norfolk!

By all accounts this was a game the Phoenix turned up to play, most of my review is based on IH update. It seemed like the Phoenix had the better of the first two periods leading 2-0 after the first and 3-1 after the second. Needless to say, im sure there were a few nervous fans going into the third. Given the Phoenix’ recent ability to throw away a two goal lead. So it proved, with two unanswered goals in the third the Blaze fought back to take it into overtime. Im sure there was a lot of anxiety in the stands and ‘oh no here we go again!’ But reading through Matski's review over at Five Minute Major, it just seems like Coventry camped out in the Phoenix zone. So well done lads for hanging in there!

Thankfully there came a different outcome, step up Kenton our captain. Who fired home at 61min 03sec to give the Phoenix the extra point.

So finally the Phoenix get a win over the Blaze, but im still worried about our ability to hold a lead!

Manchester Evening News article here.


Onto this weekend which will see the Phoenix play two second legs, in two different cup competitions. This is a big week for our club, as the cups are our most realistic chance of silverware. The Phoenix are well placed to proceed in both cup competitions, but it’s the same situation for the Stingrays and Bison so they will be two tough games! So for me and the gf it looks like Valentines day in Hull! Bring it on!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Gig Review - Russel Brand, Manchester Apollo 05th February

As promised, although a little later than planed, here is my gig review for Russell Brand. Now ill say this at the start, I am a fan of his! I don’t care what you think but he is funny, has an amazing way with words and a great entertainer. This was a date at the Manchester Apollo, sold out of course, amongst a nationwide tour. We actually had pretty good seats on the floor so had a good view of the stage.

As with previous shows I have seen of his, his warm up act was Mr Gee. As with Mr Brand himself Mr Gee has a great control of vocab. Throw in a couple of well written poems and you have a truly great performer in the making!

So onto the main act, its clear they have had a fair bit of money to spend on this show, over head projectors, lights and a big screen! Needless to say much of the show revolved around the media storm of Nov/Dec. His intro was a two minute piece made up of headline news stories across various media. Let me make my thoughts on this clear, I believe what Mr Ross and Mr Brand did was wrong, clearly! Give them a fine, and suspend them yes, but did it really warrant to be the top news story for two weeks? Lets also realise that the young lady at the centre of it all is hardly whiter than white! I instantly lost any spec of respect for her the moment she went and sold her story to the Sun! Having said that, it was a private encounter and should not have been aired! The second thing for me is that fact that there were only two complaints during the show, ok two is more than what should be acceptable, but it was only after the Daily Mail got wind and got on its high moral horse that 39,998 more complaints came in! Seriously people do you not have anything better to do with your time?

Anyway, onto the show, most of it did revolve around the media storm of last year. The main gist of the show dealt with the extensive media coverage and that, if they had realised the best way to bring Mr Brand down a peg or two would have been to ignore him! Instead all the major news channels devoted hours of coverage to him, talk about inflating an ego!

But as ever a very good time was had, I do like Mr Brand, im not ashamed to say it! He always puts on a good show and I would say, keep an open mind and go see him! You wont be disappointed!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Few things for the weekend......! pt2

As promised there will be a couple of posts next week covering the events of this weekend. Am home now, but after an epic journey friday im absolutely knackered!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Few things for the weekend......!

Just a heads up for the next couple of days, sometime next week there will be two posts going online. The first will be a gig review of Mr Russell Brand from tomorrow night from the Apollo. Second the game review of Phoenix v Coventry will go online too. However this will not be the usual game review as im missing that game due to family commitments.

Anyway just a quick heads up, enjoy your weekend, and support local hockey!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Phoenix v Nottingham 01st February Game Review

So last night saw the visit of the Panthers, this was also the reverse of Saturday nights game in the NIC. The final score in Nottingham was 3-2 Panthers, not bad for the Phoenix, at least it was a close game. This time, however, on home ice we hoped for a Phoenix win. The Phoenix were at full strength and the Panthers, with a couple of injuries, still had a larger bench than the Phoenix. Some wage cap bending going on? (Possibly?)

Anyway on to the game:

First Period: Nottingham came out, as they always do, hard and fast. Most of the period was spent in the Phoenix zone, but the Phoenix were holding on. Coupled with some superb goaltending from Murphy the period ended 0-0. Even though the Panthers dominated the period there were good chances at either end of the Ice.

Second Period: Well it all kicked off in the second! Both teams began to get into penalty trouble with lots of niggles, slashes, hook’s going on. Around the 37/38min mark the Panthers had 3 players in the box and the Phoenix had just the one. There was some confusion (at east the Panthers thought so) as to who should have come back on the ice when! Alex Dunn’s penalty came to an end, he stepped out onto the ice all alone on the blue line, Clouthier found him and Dunn let rip a shot high over Robinson’s shoulder. This send the Dome mental and the noise really cranked up a notch. Then 21seconds later the Dome exploded, when, at 39min and 30sec Lucas Burnett rammed the puck home. Que delirium in the stands, what followed was the most disgraceful display from the Panther’s players I have seen all season. The proverbial toys were well and truly thrown out the pram. Just as the main arguments began to dispel and the Phoenix players lined up for the faceoff, the Panthers were refusing to take to the centre circle. Quite why a delay of game penalty was not assessed on the Panthers ill never know! To add to all this, Mr Robinson in the Panthers goal, who had seconds earlier tried to wrap his stick around the post, deliberately pushed the net off its moorings to delay the game further. Im sorry the Panthers may be a bigger team, but there display in the second period was shoddy and disgraceful! Anyway the Phoenix went into the break 2-0 up!

Third Period: All the Phoenix had to do was keep plugging away and stay out the penalty box. Im not sure what happened to the Phoenix in the break, as a totally different team player the third period. I can’t decide if we were awful, or the Panthers just stepped up a gear. In a woeful display the Phoenix conceded 3 unanswered goals and an empty netter. The goals came as follows:

Galbraith – 51min 58sec.
Bergin – 56min 11sec.
Bergin – 56min 28sec. (own goal)
Empty net at 59min 59sec, Bergin the scorer?

So in one 10min spell, the Phoenix have gone from a strong lead to a horrible defeat. Needles to say this poster was gutted, we had two points in the bag, and managed to snatch defeat from victory! We did not deserve to loose, the Panthers did not deserve to win. The Panthers win, combined with their conduct in the second period made me sick! Im quite willing to hold my hands up and say the better team won, but on this occasion I cannot do that! I have never seen a team spit its dummy our and act so badly as the Panthers did in that second period! Shameful!

Verdict: Well as mentioned above, defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Another pointless weekend, and more worryingly more evidence of the Phoenix’ inability to close out the game. 2-0 up with 20minutes to go on home ice, but we still lost! What’s also worrying is that’s now one win in seven games for the Phoenix. The only consolation of the night was Hull turning over Cardiff!

So a good two periods, but a poor period that cost us the win…..again!

Attendance: Not bad last night, id say around 1,400 in the Dome. As mentioned in the last game review, that second period, I defy anyone to say that was not the best atmosphere anywhere in the league! Just a shame about the third period!

MEN article for the game here.