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