The Angry Budgie Live

Friday, 29 January 2010

Phoenix v Sheffield Scimitars 28th January Game Review

A rare mid-week game for the Phoenix saw the visit of the Sheffield Scimitars to the Ice Dome. This game having been re-arranged from a pre-christmas fixture that succumbed to the ice and snow. In addition the game would have a bit of a fancy dress theme after the gauntlet had been thrown down by the Scimitars! Payette was still suspended for the match and Ryan Johnson was also not icing for the Phoenix.

First Period: All our games so far against Sheffield have been very entertaining affairs, and in the early stages this was no different! Most of the entertainment coming from the Phoenix as they mounted the early pressure. The period began with the Phoenix camped out in the Sheffield zone, then Mark Stewart found James Archer who rushed out on the break with just Luke Boothroyd and an Ice Berg (sorry Ed Courtenay) back in defence. Archer rounded Courtenay with ease and zoomed in on Fone to put the Scimitars ahead after just 1min 28sec. The Phoenix re-established their camp in the Scimitar's zone and piled on the pressure. Surely a goal was imminent! It was, after 15min 20sec Ed Courtenay pulled out some top draw skill to atone for his earlier error. After that goal the two teams would go into the break on level terms, but the Phoenix deserving to be ahead.

Second Period: Pretty much a carbon copy of the first period, the Phoenix camped out in the Scimitar's zone, Ben Bowns in net standing on his head, and the Scimitar's creating a few break aways. Only one goal, that came for the Phoenix after 30min 30sec and Courtenay pulling off some fine skill to skate (yes skate) through the Scimitar's line and create his own chance, and a riffled shot into the net. So far in the game no penalties had been called, cant remember the last time that has happened! But the main talking point was a ten minute misconduct penalty for shooting the puck after the whistle had gone!

Third Period: By now the Phoenix really should have been clear of the Scimitar's but thanks to Bowns in goal the Scimitars were still close and could get something from the game. The Phoenix raced ahead with their third goal of the game coming after 42min 37sec, Stephen Wallace finally getting the goal he had deserved against his old club. Judging by his performance in the game, im sure there will be some Scimitar fans who wonder why on earth they got rid! The fourth goal came after 46min 30sec when Tony Hand scored through the five hole on the powerplay! Job would think! But hey thats not the Phoenix way! The Scimitars would start a mini revival when Mark Turner would net their second after 52min 30sec. The team from Sheffield would then ensure a period of squeaky bum time when Peter Slamir, easily the Scimm's best player, scored at 57min 04sec. In the last few minutes the Scimitar's did try to pull Bowns for the extra skater but the Phoenix managed to keep the puck either in the Sheffield zone or center ice preventing him going for the bench. So the Phoenix managed to hold on for the win!

Verdict: As per the Swindon game but less goals! The Phoenix played well being camped out in the Sheffield zone for most of the game. But because of this they looked a bit vulnerable on the break away. Having said all that it was a deserved victory for the Phoenix and another valuable two points. Im sure the team and the fans would have preferred to win by a good few goals but Ben Bowns in the Scimitar's goal stood on his head!

Attendance: As normal a mid week crowd is slightly down on a weekend crowd, but a good crowd in none the less! Im going to guess at say 7-800. Must mention that after the Scimitar's had thrown down the gauntlet to challenge the Phoenix fans to who has the best fancy dress, I have to say the Sheffield fan's failed spectacularly! I couldn't see one person in fancy dress! Booooooo!

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 4 Scimitars 3 MEN Article

Monday, 25 January 2010

Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats 24th January Game Review

Saturday night saw the Phoenix travel to table topping Milton Keynes, without Jaakko Hagelberg who picked up a match penalty in the Guilford Game the previous sunday. The Phoenix did have the big man Andre Payette back on the ice so a tough game was on the cards! After one period the Phoenix were still in the game, Tony Hand even dropped the gloves in the first period! A second period collapse followed for the Phoenix, Andre Payette was thrown out on another match penalty, so it was all to do in the final period. The Phioenix nack of recovering from a 3 goal deficit was needed. The guys almost delivered too! Eventually the Phoenix could not do the come back and lost 6-4.

Anyway on to sunday's game versus Swindon, which also included the home debut of new Phoenix recruit Stephen Wallace......

First Period: Hoping the Phoenix defence would turn up the opening twenty minutes would see stand in goalie Chris Douglas stand on his head to keep the Phoenix out! The Phoenix had the better of the play and chances but Chris stood in their way! Much to the surprise of the Phoenix faithful it would be the Wildcats who scored first. After 19min 09sec on the powerplay Aaron Nell would put the Wildcats ahead.

Second Period: The main aim for the period would be to keep up the pressure and work on finishing the chances. The Phoenix duly delivered and took the lead in a hectic 1 minute! After 22min 08sec the Phoenix drew level through Ed Courtenay and then at 22min 52sec Joe Graham would put the Phoenix ahead. After the lead was established the Phoenix went about asserting their superiority, and limiting Swindon to long range chances. The lead was extended after 36min 48sec when home debutant Stephen Wallace pounced on a loose puck in front of the Swindon net. Then, with just 47sec left in the period Adam Walker score the Phoenix fourth goal, timed 39min 13sec.

Third Period: Do not let the lead slip!!!! As the Phoenix have done many times before! But thanks to some clinical finishing, and some poor play from Swindon, who seemed to give up helping Chris Douglas out in goal! Ed Courtenay would score his second of the game at 46min 43sec. Adam Walker then scored a lovely deak goal at 48min 54sec to make the scores 6-1. Finally after a near MOM performance Jaakko Hagelberg would get his goal, timed 51min 36sec. With the game now won the Phoenix lapsed and allowed Jason Cassells to score Swindon's second goal at 52min 54sec. The game then petered out but the Phoenix were deserved 7-2 winners!

Verdict: Just the sort of game the Phoenix needed! A good morale booster and some valuable points on the board! New boy Stephen Wallace played very well and was unlucky not to get the MOM himself! Quite why Sheffield released him is a mystery to me! A special mention must go to Chris Douglas in the Swindon goal, pressed into action after Woolhouse's departure (after headbutting a player in a previous game!) you could have forgiven him for walking off the ice. He really kept the Wildcats in the game in the first period, and but for him the Phoenix could have been easily into double figures!

Attendance: A good crowd in, not as many as the previous weeks 'Rock the Rink' but defiantly up on our usual crowds! Im going to say 1,100 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 7 Swindon 2 MEN Article

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Angry Budgie Live: DragonForce, 12th December, Manchester Academy

Right so I have finally got round to putting this review up online, over a month later! Last december I went to see DragonForce at the Manchester Academy, this is the second time I have seen DragonForce on their own tours, and third including their slot at Download 2009.

I know DragonForce are not everyone's cup of tea, but I am a huge fan. The write some epic tunes and their live performances are legendary. There not a band you can easily mosh to, but you can still nod your head and appreciate them in all their live glory! Everyone will know about the insanely fast guitar work from Herman and Sam, but I want to give a big shout out to Dave MacKintosh on drums. It is simply not human to drum at the speed's he does for an hour and a half set! The man has untold reserves of energy and strength!

They are of course a great live band, this being one of the founding cornerstones of the band. Their gig at the Academy was no let down. The band powering their way through the hits, and abusing your ear drums at the same time! Set highlights were 'Heroes of our Time' and 'Last Journey Home' from Ultra Beatdown, and, 'Operation Ground and Pound' and of course 'Through the Fire and Flames' from Inhuman Rampage. TTFAF of course the tune that made Guitar Hero famous!

Heroes of Our Time:

Through The Fire and Flames:

...and this insane guy:

Monday, 18 January 2010

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 17th January Game Review

Hoping to build on the OT win against the Phantoms the Phoenix had the home stand of a pair of games against the Flames. Confidence will have been nocked however as the Flames handed the Phoenix a pasting 9-2! The game also saw Payette chucked on a match penalty, meaning the Phoenix would be down an import in this home game! The game also saw the first 'Rock the Rink' promotion with Rock Radio. Face painting, competitions and a live band were set to entertain a good turn out at the Dome!

First Period: With a big crowd in the Phoenix set about the Flames nice and early and after initially being pegged back in their own zone managed to assert more and more pressure. Maybe down to the lack of confidence but the finishing touch was not as sharp as it should be, as a succession of chances came and went for the Phoenix. In a tight period it was Guildford who scored the only goal of the period, coming at the 13min 13sec mark through Gary Clarke.

Second Period: The Phoenix came out and looked flat at the start of the second, the defence disintegrated and Guilford took a commanding lead. They made the scores 2-0 after 21min 56sec through Lukas Smital, it was then 3-0 after 25min 38sec on the powerplay when Martin Masa scored. The Phoenix fightback began and it was Mr Tony Hand who would get the home team on the board at 30min 39sec. The second came after 35min 17sec when Greg Wood got on the scoresheet. The improbable comeback came about a minute later, at 36min 19sec. Ed Courtenay providing the game tying goal. Phoenix hearts were set to explode when Adam Walker put the home team ahead at 37min 10sec. With just 35sec left in the period Jaakko Hagelberg would take, what would prove to be a pivotal penalty. Assessed a match penalty for 'accidental high sticks' he was gone from the game. The Phoenix down to two import players for a tense final period!

Third Period: So the Phoenix were ahead, but with a 5min penalty kill would they stay ahead? Simple answer was no! The same defensive frailties emerged and Guildford would hit right back with 2 goals on that powerplay. The first coming at 41min 31sec through Jez Lundin, and the second at 44min 21sec through Martin Saba. So from being 4-3 up, the Phoenix now found themselves 5-4 down. What came next would break most hearts, the Phoenix on the powerplay lost the puck in the Guildford zone, and Adrian Saul broke up centre ice with Tony Hand in hot pursuit. Saul would fire the puck past Steve Fone. Scores now 6-4 after 46min 44sec. The Flames would restore their 3 goal lead after 49min 48sec through Lukas Smital. This would leave just 10mins for the Phoenix to try and come back, and, just like in the second period, they did! The fightback began on 51min 09sec when James Neil fired a looping shot from the blue line to score. The next goal came at 53min 02sec through Robert Lachowicz, and the game tying goal came at 56min exactly with that man, Ed Courtenay scoring the equalizer!

Overtime: For the third game in a row the Phoenix went to overtime! Four on four the action went from end to end, but no score!

Penalties: The teams were tied one a piece after the initial rotation of 3 shot takers, however it would be the Flames would would take the game, and a four point weekend against the Phoenix!

Verdict: A big crowd in the Ice Dome were treated to a right hum dinger! Back and forth, back and forth, and two 3 goal come backs for the Phoenix! In truth the Phoenix defense still worries me, and on balance the Phoenix were quite poor for long stretches of the game. Confidence is still lacking in the Phoenix camp, however the two comebacks will hopefully have instilled some confidence in the team! As any sports fan will tell you, to loose a game on penalties hurts bad! Yours truly is still recovering!

Attendance: As mentioned a big crowd in the Ice Dome, and, if the Guildford Flames website is to be believed an attendance of 1,473 in!

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 7 Guildford 8 (After Overtime) MEN Article

Monday, 11 January 2010

Phoenix v Peterborough Jets 9th January Game Review

Saturday night saw the visit of the Peterborough Phantoms to a cold and icy Altrincham Ice Dome. The main aim for the Phoenix would be to arrest a developing slide of four losses that had seen them slip down the table. More worryingly was the performance of the Phoenix during those losses. Granted the Phoenix had lost their number one keeper and 4 Brit lads to GB, but worrying none the less. With a full strength squad, Ed Courtenay was back for the Phoenix after his plane bringing him back from Canada had been cancelled!

First Period: The Phoenix did not start brightly, in fact as the period wore on it became obvious that the Phoenix were low on confidence. Seemingly unable to get past centre ice and into the Phantoms zone, the Phoenix lacked ideas and execution to make any of their little pressure count. In some circles it was clearly the worst 20 minutes the Phoenix have played this season. Making matters worse the only goal of the period would come for the Phantoms. The excellent Jow Miller was rewarded for his buzzing the Phoenix net after 6min 21sec with the opening goal.

Second Period: It seems that Mr Hand had lit some fires in the interval, or it could have been the change of shirt for the Phoenix. But the Phoenix that begun the second period was nothing like the Phoenix that had ended the first. Finally some good pressure on the Phantom net, some great plays and some passion. The first Phoenix goal would come on the powerplay, after setting up in the Phantom zone, the Phoenix quickly moved the puck around the zone finally coming to Hagelberg who riffled a shot through Stephen Wall's five hole! An absolute beauty! This came after 22min 32sec, the Phoenix would double their lead less than a minute later at 23min 26sec. Rob Lachowicz was the scorer this time to the delight of the Phoenix faithful. The Phoenix went in to the break 3-1 to the good after Adam Walker got another goal after 31min 42sec.

Third Period: As is often the case with the Phoenix, once they have a lead they tend to try and sit on it. But with our current defensive wobbles this is never a great strategy! So it would prove to be in this game. The Phantoms upped their game and brought pressure to the Phoenix! The Phantoms would get one goal back on a 5 on 3 powerplay after 46min 14sec through Joe Miller again. That boy is a revelation, such pace! The Phantoms would then tie the game at 51min 44sec through an excellent James Knight short handed goal. The Phoenix would restore their lead less than a minute later when Ed Courtenay would pounce on a loose puck and make the scores 4-3 at 52min 10sec. The Phantoms would not be finished and forced overtime at 53min 53sec through James Morgan.

Overtime: So for the second game in a row we went to overtime. The Phantoms handing the Phoenix the advantage by taking a couple of penalties in the extra session. Despite this the game winning goal would not be scored on the PP. Unlike the Slough game, the previous week, the Phoenix would get the winner! Ed Courtenay saving the day by being in the right place at the right time. On the back post with the puck on his stick with Stephen Wall on the wrong side of the net! Cue jubilation on and off the ice, and some surprising acting from Mr Wall!

Verdict: Not a classic from the Phoenix, but a step in the right direction. Delighted to have got the win and reverse some recent fortune, but defensive worries still remain! These will have to be ironed out if the Phoenix want to win some silverware. We cannot rely on our offence to always bail out the defence!

Attendance: Not the best in the Dome, a combination of a saturday night fixture, cold weather all combined to produce say around 700 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 5 Peterborough 4 after OT, MEN Article

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Florida Gators vs Cincinati Saturday 02nd January All State Sugar Bowl

The last game of the season would be the All State Sugar Bowl at the Louisianna Superdome against Cincinnati. The game would give the Gators the chance to win some silverware, despite missing out on the BCS Championship game. This game would also see many Gators leaving the squad, including superstar quarterback Tim Tebow.

First Quarter: The Gators pressed from the off and forced Cincinnati to punt on its first drive. Tebow would begin his final game in style, completing seven of his pass attempts as part of a 13 play 84 yard touchdown drive, with a final seven yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez. Caleb Sturgis added the extra point and the Gators held a 9-0 lead.

Second Quarter: On their next possession Florida would march downfield on a 64 yard drive ending in another touchdown pass to Denote Thompson. A further touchdown from Emmanuel Moody gave the Gators a 23-0 lead before Cincinnati got on the board. This came from a 47 yard field goal. The Gators and Tebow responded immediately with a pass to Riley Cooper with and 80 yard touchdown strike. This gave the Gators a 30-3 lead at half time.

Third Quarter: Moody would add a second touchdown run early in the third quarter before Cincinnati would get their own touchdown pass. Marcus Waugh scoring the reduce the lead to 37-10. Tim Tebow would score his own touchdown just before the break, a 4 yard run giving the Gators a 44-10 lead.

Fourth Quarter: The Bearcats would score the first points of the final quarter through a 74 yard drive with Tony Pike passing to Armon Binns. The Gators responded straight away when Chris Rainey scored a 6 yard touchdown run. This meant final scores were 51-17 to the Gators, and the Sugar Bowl win.

Attendance: 65,207


Monday, 4 January 2010

Phoenix v Slough Jets 3rd January Game Review

Crikey it seems like ages since the last Phoenix game! With the Sheffield game being cancelled the week before Christmas, and no games until the new year it was a good layoff for the Phoenix. Thankfully coming into the Slough game the Phoenix welcomed back the 4 players lost to Great Britain and Steve Fone was back between the pipes. Sadly Courtenay was missing due to urgent family commitments in North America, but other than that, at full strength.

More snow and ice greeted both sets of fans and another cold night in the Ice Dome would see the Phoenix try and record their first victory against the Scimitars this season.

First Period: With that fact in mind the Phoenix made the best possible start they could have made. With just 37 seconds on the clock Tony Hand broke down the wing and slid the puck across to Walker who slotted home in the open net. It got better for the Phoenix support when after 1min 42sec Ian Bowie deflected a Greg Wood shot to double the lead. The game continued at pace with both sides creating many chances and, certainly in the case of the Phoenix, some early defensive wobbles. The Jets would not allow the Phoenix to have it all their own way and before the 5min mark halved the deficit. Blaz Emersic would get his first, of many, goals of the night at 4min 05sec. There were no further goals in the period, but worryingly for the Phoenix, some questionable reffing! To have a chance in the game the Phoenix would have to stay out the box!

Second Period: Crikey it all went off in the second period! In a 6 goal thriller Slough would take the game by the scruff of the neck! It would be the Phoenix to score first, with Tony Hand netting after just 1min 42sec of the re-start. That man Blaz Emersic would score again after 28min 12sec to reduce the deficit to one goal. The Jets pressure would payoff when at 33min 51sec Emersic popped up and grabbed his hatrick. Mr Hand would restore the Phoenix lead about a minute later and continue the back and forth wing of the game. The Jets then delivered a sucker punch to the Phoenix and scored two goals in 27sec in the final minutes of the period. Dan Davies first at 38min 11sec then Emersic again at 38min 38sec. The Phoenix went off the ice stunned and quite thankful for the break.

Third Period: With the scores at 5-4 to Slough the game was not out of the Phoenix' reach and some disciplined play would help. Sadly it seemed the Phoenix were not able to do so, and Slough extended their lead after 42min through Dan Davies second of the game. The Phoenix continued to press, and live dangerously at the back. Those efforts were rewarded with just about two minutes to go. On the powerplay Adam Walker would score the Phoenix 5th at 57min 56sec. Then, less than a minute later, the Dome erupted when Rob Lachowicz tied the game, sending us into overtime!

Overtime: 4 on 4 hockey, a situation I always think suits the Phoenix. However in a story of the game, the Phoenix struggled. Even going on the powerplay didnt seem to help. With 3min and 29sec of the overtime period gone, the Jets hero Emersic would step up and riffle the puck over Steve Fone's shoulder to grab the extra point.

Verdict: In truth the Phoenix were poor, we ran out of many attacking ideas, and the defence seemed at sea. The Phoenix did well to get a point from the game, and sadly didn't deserve to win! So the wait for the first win against the Jets continues!

Attendance: Despite the conditions outside a decent attendance in the Dome! Im going to guess at about 850.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 7 Slough 6 - MEN Article