Sunday saw the visit of the 2nd ranked team in the EPL to the Ice Dome, for what would become a scintillating clash. Both teams having won in each other's barns it was up to the Phoenix to break that cycle.
First Period: The game kicked off in front of another healthy crowd at the dome and quickly got up to top speed. The break neck pace would not drop for the full 60 minutes. You could tell early on that this was a game between two top teams. Each side creating early chances but both teams finding the opposing goaltenders in top form! The deadlock was broken after 7min 36sec when Lachowicz was put through by Jaakko Hagelberg. The Ice Dome explodes! With such a tight game there were no further goals in the first period. But each defence and goaltender was being tested to the max!
Second Period: After such a fast paced first period, you would be forgiven for thinking the second would be a little flat. After a well needed interval both teams came out and kept the frenetic pace up. More end to end hockey and more superb stops from each nettie. This period also saw some strange reffing, with many non-calls, and fair bit of 'making calls even'. Very puzzling for those in the stands!
Third Period: It was all set up for a barn storming third period, the Phoenix up by one and both teams going right at it. After some top class saves from Hollyhead and Fone, it was the Phoenix who scored next! Jaakko Hagelberg getting on the scoresheet after 46min 26sec. This helped ease the minds of the Phoenix faithful...but not too much as MK could quite easily turn the game on its head. Throughout the game Payette and even Hagelberg had been looking after the younger Phoenix players and Fone in net by reminding various MK players that they did not appreciate what they were doing. So far no MK player had dropped the gloves, so imagine the surprise in the Dome when Ian Bowie and Grant McPherson dropped gloves centre ice and went at it. A fairly even scrap but Bowie just edged it! MK ratcheted up the tense atmosphere when Adam Carr was found on the back post and made the scores 2-1 at 55min 45sec to go. MK then upped the pressure but the Phoenix defence held firm, and with just 5sec on the clock, and on the third attempt Courtenay slotted in the empty net goal.
Verdict: Wow what a game, the newbies im the crowd will be hooked on hockey! That game was an amazing advert for EPL hockey, and would put many EIHL games to shame! More and more, and with this game indeed, I am sure Neil made the right move for the Phoenix. Both sets of supporters were treated to a great game! The Phoenix deserved the victory but the MK players skated off the ice their heads held high!
Attendance: I would say biggest of the season, 1,024 in the Dome!
Phoenix TV highlights:
Phew what a corker, I do hope the atmosphere from the game translates into the highlights above! It really was a cracker!