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.