The Angry Budgie Live

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Manchester Phoenix 08/09 Season Review – The Defence

Number 4: Luke Boothroyd What a season from the Huddersfield native, after being signed from the Hull Stingrays, Boothroyd would begin the season under the vastly experienced wing of Dwight Parrish. After Parrish’s departure around Christmas time Luke had to step up. With no sign of a replacement player Luke’s ice time grew rapidly, and boy, did he rise to it! Always a consistently good performer on the ice, he knew where to put his body, when and how to use his stick on the ice. Despite his size he could level any player in the EIHL, Brad Voth anyone?

His improvement becoming so marked, that he spent a good deal of the season on the top D pairing with Kenton Smith, and never looked out of place. Luke is a player who deservedly one an award at the end of season supporters do. Sadly he never won a man-of-the-match award during the season despite many great performances.

Re-sign? In a way I would welcome Luke’s signature as much as David-Alexandre Beauregard’s! Such is the high esteem I and many other Phoenix fans hold for Luke!

Season stats: GP: 69, Goals: 0, Assists: 8, Points: 8, Pim: 56.

Number 5: Kenton Smith (Captain) ‘Kenton is our captain, Kenton is our captain, da daa da da!’ Kenton Smith came in and was our best D man all season. A great leader on and off the ice, a consummate professional. Took over development duties for Luke and Carl after Dewy’s departure and nurtured both players. Kenton had a wicked shot and a willingness to get forward and rush the net. Not the biggest of guys but a guy who could mix it up when he wanted. A fully deserving player of the captaincy!

Fast, skillful and dependable, all the qualities you want in your captain and Kenton had them in spades. He led the blue line by example all season and chipped in with his own fair share of points. The leading D man, and 6th highest point scorer on the Phoenix roster.

Re-sign? Most defiantly yes! Kenton could turn out to be another franchise player for the Phoenix. Certainly one of our best ever Captains!

Season stats: GP: 67, Goals: 9, Assists: 38, Points: 47, Pim: 74.

Number 7: Alex Dunn A player in a similar vein to Kenton Smith, with the only possible difference being Alex’ willingness to mix it up! As shown by his impressive PIM figure, beating Mr Clouthier indeed! Alex has worked hard all season and has finished up number 3 in terms of D men scoring. Able to read the play well and execute a mean slap shot. Ive been a big fan of Alex’ all season and he is a player who has improved all year.

Forming a great partnership with Josh or Kenton, Alex has adapted well to the small ice here in Altrincham. More than willing to join in the rush, Alex has scored a respectable 13 goals this season. Matching his previous seasons tally from Odessa.

Re-Sign? A cracking season from the Michigan native, I would have him back next season!

Season Stats: GP: 68, Goals: 13, Assists: 30, Points: 43, Pim: 199

Number 13: Josh Garbutt The seasons utility player, Josh played a fair few games up front for the Phoenix when the squad was hit by injuries. For this reason alone he can be called Mr Reliable! A consistent performer in the Phoenix ranks, while not the flashiest Josh got the job done each night. Some interesting hair/facial displays throughout the season have made Josh a firm fan favourite.

A 45 point season ranks as a career best for Josh, the stint on the forward lines obviously contributed to his increased point taking. Plus he must have had a good season for a chant to be made up for him! Cue the choir boys:

‘Josh Garbutt plays for Phoenix, he wrestles Buffalo, were gonna sing a song for him and this is how it goes……’

Re-Sign? Again another yes please, with a fully fit team would allow Josh to concentrate on what he does best. Defence!

Season Stats: GP: 66, Goals: 8, Assists: 37, Points: 45, Pim: 67

Number 81: Carl Graham Carl had a season much like Adam Summerfield, biding most of his time on the bench and awaiting the call from Tony to join in the fray. As such his ice time was limited, but whenever he did step out onto the ice the young Brit defence men never looked out of place. A little in-experienced he will have learnt a lot this season. No doubt aided by Dwight Parrish, until his departure, Graham will have learned so much behind Tony/Kenton and the rest of the team.

Possibly the best indicator of his progress has been his first points registered at EIHL level, with his first goal coming against the leagues best nettie Jodie Lehman. Carl never let the side down when he stepped out onto the ice, and im sure another season will see him break out and become an established Brit! Plus a loyal fan club is now forming, with frequent ‘We Love you Carl’ shouts being heard from the stands!

Re-Sign? With the possibility of British players becoming rarer at EIHL level, its important to hold onto the good ones! Yes please!

Season Stats: GP: 67, Goals: 1, Assists: 2, Points: 3, Pim: 18

Also Iced:

Number 17: Dwight Parrish The veteran defense man was brought in to give the young Phoenix organisation some experience. While being one of the best defense man to grace the British game, Parrish also brought vast experience of hockey in Manchester too! Having iced two seasons with the Manchester Storm and the Phoenix’ first season of existence, Parrish came to the Phoenix in 0809 after having played the previous 9 seasons in the UK.

Dwight, while not being the most mobile of defense men, brought a fine hockey mind to the blue line. His experience could be seen rubbing off on the likes of Luke Boothroyd and Carl Graham. His stick handling and positioning on the ice were second to none! His season was cut short when he left the Phoenix just before Christmas to start his post hockey career. Now im not going to comment further on this as I have already done that here: Dwight Takes Flight. (link to post)

Re-sign? If he were still playing, yes please!

Season Stats: GP: 33, Goals: 3, Assists: 10, Points: 13, Pim: n/a

...and so tomorrow will bring the attack!

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