The Angry Budgie Live
Monday, 9 March 2009
Phoenix v Belfast 08th March Challenge Cup 1st Leg Game Review
Last night saw the biggest game in Phoenix history! This game was the first leg of the Challenge Cup final against the Belfast Giants. The second leg follows on St Pat’s day in Belfast at the Dundonald Bowl. Going into the game I knew the Phoenix have a good chance in this final, a first leg lead would be imperative! Against a very good Giants squad this was going to be difficult. The Phoenix needed to be on their A game and then some!
First Period: A frenetic opening period saw the Giants make the most of the chances, but thankfully they came up against an inspired Murphy in the Phoenix goal. Some of the seasons best hockey was on display to those in the Dome that first period! Thankfully the breakthrough game from the Phoenix at 06min 46sec when Luke Fulghum fired past Stevie Lyle in the Giants net. The Dome exploded as soon as the red light went on and the fans began to believe.
Second Period: No let up in the second period with the game going end to end, and both net minders were in fine shape. It was the Phoenix who scored the only two goals in the period to take a 3-0 lead. The first, of two in two minutes, came at 24min 06sec when returnee, from injury, Brucey Mulherin lit the light for the second time. The third came from the big man Brett Clouthier at 25min 23sec when he does what he does best, get on the net and put home the rebound. Then step forward David Beauregard who made it 4-0 at 31min 30sec. The reeling Giants called a timeout to reground and it more or less paid dividends with George Awada getting the Giants on the board! Despite this if the Dome was rocking, by the end of the second I think the whole of Altrincham new about it!
Third Period: The third belonged more to the Giants, as the Phoenix recent heavy schedule began to take its toll the Giants came more into the game. After 5 minutes of the period the Giants made it 4-2 through Colin Shields on a delayed penalty call. The game had reached Epic proportions by now and the end to end action did not stop. It was the Giants who got the final goal of the night to bring them within one of the Phoenix, with 5 minutes to play Evan Cheverie fired home. This left the Phoenix holding onto the lead to take to Belfast.
Verdict: Epic, simply epic! Easily the best game of the season, and I would say better than any Shuff/Nottingham game ever could be! A great/heroic performance from the Phoenix, and a damn fine performance from the Giants too! Im sure I share the same opinion of many a Phoenix fan who watched the game that, while we got the win it’s a case of what could have been! The Phoenix were 4-0 up in this game, what a lead to take to Belfast! Still if someone had offered me 4-3 before the game started I would have taken their hand off! The way Iook at it, a win is a win, a lead is a lead! Belfast have to score that goal, and the fact the game is not at the ‘O’ I think will help the Phoenix!
Attendance: Easily the biggest crowd of the year, I would say at least 1,800 in last night! I really wish Phoenix TV could convey the atmosphere, it was rocking in the Dome and as mentioned above that atmosphere could beat the ‘Biggest rivalry in Europe’! For those of you unable to attend I say, you missed an amazing game! To those of you who were there, I salute you!
Anyway a lot to look forward to in the second leg, where either team could really take it! Its also encouraged me for the next final showdown with the Giants in the Knockout Cup! Bring it on I say!