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