Last sunday saw the first visit to the Ice Dome of the Bison this season, not the first time as both teams have dueled on many occasions in the EIHL. It was also a battle of two of the top teams in the EPL and a good chance for each side to measure themselves against similar opponents. For both teams sunday's game was a good chance to bounce back after sustaining losses the previous night. The Phoenix having lost to Slough and with most of the team suffering from the flu, it was to be 'challenging' match.
First Period: It was the Bison who came out flying, the Phoenix looking very tired and lethargic. It was no surprise when the Bison got themselves on the scoreboard first. Andy Hemmings got the scoring underway after 5min 18sec to silence the home support. It was to get worse for the Phoenix when Hemmings was on hand to score his second of the night at 11min 14sec. This seemed to stir the Phoenix and after 14min 47sec the Phoenix reduced the arrears, though a superb back hand goal. The Bison restored their two goal lead with just 9 sec left in the period, as Sam Zajac scored past Stephen Fone.
Second Period: The fightback began in the second for the Phoenix, almost jolted into action after a terrible first period. Adam Walker scored his second of the night after 23min 54sec, joy restored. But no the Bison struck back less than two minutes later through Joe Ciccarello at 25min 22sec. The rather depressed Phoenix faithful were stunned into joy when Tony Hand scored, yes you read that correctly Tony Hand scored! With 27min 47sec the Phoenix were back within one goal of the Bison.
Third Period: More of the same needed from the Phoenix, now showing some commendable fighting spirit. Ed Courtney would tie the scores after 50min 12sec to give the home support something to cheer for. Hearts were then crushed when Ciccarello popped up again to restore the Bison lead, scoring at 55min 19sec. Up until now Ian Bowie had been having a quiet game, all that changed when he scored the game tying goal at 57min 32sec, the Phoenix faithful now sensing something! More pressure from the Phoenix followed but neither team could produce a winning score.
Overtime: With a point secured, and to be honest a point that the Phoenix didn't necessarily deserve from their performance as a whole! 4 on 4 for 5 minutes was on the cards before penalties! Things seemed to go well for the Phoenix when the Bison took a slashing penalty, giving the Phoenix a 4 on 3 opportunity. After moving the puck around the Bison zone well, Mattsson parked on Annetts in goal, a shot from the blue line from Courtney was tipped by Mattsson for the game winning goal!
Verdict: The Phoenix were not good last night, the flu bug had obviously taken alot out of the team. The Bison were superb and showed why they are up the top of the league. But a win is a win and prevented the Phoenix from suffering back to back losses! Hopefully with a fully fit team, the Phoenix can resume normal service!
Attendance: Better than expected and a larger crowd that came for the Scimitars game the previous weekend. 977 in the Dome!
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Phoenix 6 Bison 5 - MEN Article.