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