Last saturday saw the Phantoms come to the Ice Dome for the first time this season. The reigning champions came to Altrincham with a team, on paper, a weaker side. However as with any team in this league a win can never be guaranteed! This being Children In Need night saw the Phoenix wearing some very striking special shirts! The Phoenix headed into this game at the top of the table after a four point previous weekend. The game would also see Stephen Wall back in the Ice Dome after filling in for Stephen Murphy for a couple of games the previous season.
First Period: The way the Phantoms came at the Phoenix in the first place did not justify their league placing. The game was played at the usual high octane pace that has come to typify the EPL. Thankfully, and for the first time in ages, the Phoenix would end the period ahead. The first goal would come only 2min 01sec into the game. The lanky Ben Wood broke down the left wing, and found Ian Bowie who wrapped around the net very quickly and slotted the puck past Stephen Wall. More good news was to come for the Phoenix, with just 9min on the clock the lead was doubled. Excellent link play between the old masters, messers Hand and Courtney found Adam Walker free on the net to score.
Second Period: After such a good start it was important for the Phoenix not to throw the game now. As expected the Phantoms came out hard and pressed the Phoenix. Stephen Fone doing his best, and with the Phoenix D helping out the Phoenix managed to deal with most of the Phantom attack. That even includes some pretty hairy defending that had everyone on the edge of their seats!
Third Period: With the Phoenix a mere 20mins from a victory, they got off to the best possible start. At 46min 51sec Jakko Hagleberg finally got on the scoresheet. Jaakko scoring after doing everything put so far in the game! A massive celebration followed as it was clear Jaakko was quickly loosing his cool. Phoenix minds must have temporarily switched off as the Phantoms staged a 2min fightback, which had those in the stands biting their nails! The first, on the powerplay, came at 50min 27sec when Warren Tait, fired the puck right through Fone. Then further anxiety was to follow when the Phantoms would score again at 51min 48sec. With the Phantoms pressing, and spending most of the time in the Phoenix zone, an audible sigh of relief and a massive roar would accompany the Phoenix 4th goal of the night. At 58min 42sec Ed Courtney would ensure a Phoenix victory.
Verdict: A tough game for the Phoenix against the reigning champions, and bar a few tense moments the Phoenix delt with that threat. A big thanks must go out to the large Phantom support, they made lots of noise supporting their team!
Attendance: Helped by a large travelling contingent, probably the best crowd of the season. 975 in the Ice Dome!
Phoenix TV Highlights:
The following night, the Phoenix travelled to Sheffield for a tough game against the Scimitars. Despite falling behind the Phoenix would chalk up another 4 point weekend with a win.
Scimitars 2 - Phoenix 5 - MEN Article