In a homecoming game for Nick Poole, the MK Lightning skated into Altrincham for a top of the table clash. Supported by some fine (and noisy) support the stage was set for a cracking game! Like the Lightning the Phoenix came into this came off the back of a difficult win in Sheffield saturday night. By all accounts the Phoenix had not played well! Anyway onto the game, two points and a 4 and 0 record were on the line!
First Period: From the off it was obvious this game was going to be instense and fast! From the initial exchanges the MK Lighning made it clear they were the best team to have played on the Alty ice so far. Huge physical presence and pressure backed up by some skillfull play and excelent goaltending, from veteran Barry Hollyhead. Some good chances in the first, however it was MK who had the most clear cut opportunities. The first goal was to come (unsurprisingly) from MK with Adam Carr netting while short handed, you may discount what I say next as im a Phoenix fan, but this goal should not have stood. The ref managed to miss a rather obvious hook on Hagelberg in front of the Lightning goal. This was followed by the lightning skating up the ice to score! After some poor powerplay's from the Phoenix (who had 4 by this point) MK showed them how it was done. With just over 17 seconds of their first powerplay Steve Fone was picking the puck from his net. Ross Bowers scoring and humiliating the Poenix! The only bright spot of the period for the Phoenix faitfull was a stunning diving save from Fone early in the game!
Second Period: Thankfully the Phoenix upped the pressure in the second, and were finally rewarded after 27min 59sec on the powerplay (yes the power play) Tony Hand found Hagelberg in front of the net to score. A good goal, after the Phoenix had finally managed to drag Hollyhead around his goal and out of position. The Phoenix then camped out in the MK zone trying to get the game tying goal, but it wasn't to come in the second!
Third Period: Early in the third the Phoenix hit the post and continued to press, however it was MK who scored first. After 57min 53sec Adam Carr put the Lightning 3-1 ahead. More Phoenix pressure followed, with the Phoenix Brit's leading the charge. Then in the dying minutes new Phoenix captain Luke Boothroyd stepped in from the blue line and fired a wrister into the bottom corner. A rather contentious goal, as there was a rather loud 'ching' as the puck went past Hollyhead. With the Phoenix pressing the home faithful had their hearts broken when, at 59min 06sec MK number 4 made the final scores 3-2 to MK.
Verdict: A tough game, not helped by a below par performance from the Phoenix. MK showed why they were joint leaders, and no Phoenix fan could really say they didn't deserve the two points! The Phoenix now know what needs to be done, some players need reminding that hockey is a 60 minute game! But credit where its due, the Phoenix Brits put it a very good effort!
Attendance: 1,063 according to PowerPlay magazine in the Dome.
Phoenix TV Highlights:
Phoenix 2 Milton Keynes 3 - MEN Article
So come back tomorrow for the Florida Gators game review from the weekend, then wednesday for the turn of LSU, and, if I get round to it a special treat for thursday! So there you go!