The Angry Budgie Live

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Team Canada

Just a quick post to say well done and congratulations to Team Canada for winning gold in the mens hockey final!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 22 February 2010

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 21st February Game Review

The Bison came to town last night, a match up of two ex Elite League teams. The Bison came into this game on a fine run of form, the Phoenix on a pretty poor run of form. The game would see the Phoenix either:

A) Snap back into life or....
B) Continue to frustrate those fans in the stands.

So on to the game.....

First Period: As the Phoenix and Bison occupy 4th & 5th position in the league the early stages of the game proved to be quite close. The Phoenix visibly upping their game and putting much more effort into their play. Which was not that hard given the rubbish of the previous two games! Despite the early optimism for Phoenix fans, it would be the Bison who scored first. After 9min 2sec Steve Moria would get the Bison rolling, on the powerplay. The Bison went 2-0 up after 17min 29sec when Ondrej Lauko scored a short handed goal! Something that is in-excusable in my eyes! The two goals capped a poor finish to the period for the Phoenix.

Second Period: Whatever Tony Hand said in the interval made an impression! The Phoenix came out and applied themselves much better in this period. Still not up to their pre-christmas form but an improvement! The Bison would get the first goal of the period however, when the Phoenix decided to let Steve Moria skate the length of the ice to score, not clever! What came next highlights what is so frustrating about Ed Courtenay. He faf's around and looks like he puts no effort in, then in the space of 3minutes single handily hauls the Phoenix back into the game. On the powerplay after 34min 05sec Ed got his first, then on 37min 44sec he got his second.

Third Period: The mini revival was snuffed out in the third period when the Bison got the important next goal. After 44min 55sec Thompson got the goal. The Bison then continued to disrupt the play of the Phoenix, and Tom Annetts in the Bison goal kept the Phoenix at bay!

Verdict: Sadly a good 10min period in a game does not spark a recovery! Having said that there was a marked improvement in effort when compared to the Guildford and MK games. Though that wouldn't be hard given how poor the Phoenix were in those games! Even so this is a worrying time for the Phoenix, confidence is obviously low, its low in the stands too, and its hard to see where the recovery will come from. The Phoenix also missed Hagelberg last night, he provides so much energy to the Phoenix it was obvious we missed him! The tough games don't let up just yet, the Phoenix have the second leg of the EPL Cup on wednesday against MK, then away in MK for the league game next saturday, then see the Jets come to the Ice Dome on sunday!! It must also be said that Ben Wood, yet again, got no ice time!

Attendance: Some poor weather, and recent home games did have an effect on the attendance, not a poor crowd though! Ill say around 8-900 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 2 Basingstoke 4 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 2 Basingstoke 4 - MEN Article

Friday, 19 February 2010

Phoenix vs Milton Keynes Lightning EPL Cup Semi-Finals 18th February Game Review

What better way of picking the team up than a vital cup semi-final! After a dismal showing against the Guildford Flames last Sunday, and a pretty heartfelt apology from Tony Hand there was cause for optimism going into this game. Games against the Lightning have always brought out the best in the Phoenix and produced some great adverts for EPL hockey. That optimism would be tempered by the worst official I have ever seen returning to the dome to officiate. Yes last night saw the return of Mr Wardell!

The faceoff was delayed around 50mins last night as poor weather and awful motorway conditions delayed the Lightning players and fans getting to Altrincham. However the team made it and a warm welcome extended!

First Period: Any worries the Lightning fans may have had about bus legs were quickly banished, the opening 10mins of the game cementing the fact that Phoenix/MK games are always fast and flowing affairs. End to end hockey to delight the fans in the Ice Dome, and thankfully for the home support it was the Phoenix who scored first. After 8min 10sec Ed Courtenay found Joe Graham to deflect the puck past Mr Hollyhead. As the ten minute mark passed something change within the Phoenix and the same mistakes started to creep in as they did against Guildford. Passes started going astray, players stopped checking back, so it was no surprise that MK got themselves on the board. After 14min 26sec Lewis Christie scoring MK’s first of the night. MK quickly took hold of the game, and indeed the tie, in the remaining minutes of the period. MK took the lead after 16min 43sec through Andre Smulter and then capped off a great period with 25sec left when the Phoenix defence decided to let Nick Poole skate the length of the ice un-checked to score a wrap around.

Second Period: What utter rubbish was to follow from the Phoenix. That final ten-minute turn around from MK seemed to have sucked the life out of the Phoenix. By the end of this period the tie was dead! I know there is still a game to be played in MK, but seriously!!!! Decieving us all the Phoenix managed to score the first goal of the period, but it was to be a short-lived moment of hope! After 29min 33sec the Phoenix scored their second powerplay goal of the game when Tony Hand found Adam Walker to score. MK would take the tie by the scruff of the neck with a burst of goals. Their 4th coming after 31min 36sec on the powerplay through Lukas Zatopek. Then a two-goal one minute blitz. Goals coming from Leigh Jamieson after 37min exactly, then Ross Bowers after 37min 56sec.

Third Period: All that was left for the Phoenix to do was to salvage some pride, and give those fans heading down to MK for the second leg some hope! Sadly both were extinguished, as the Phoenix continued to play poorly. Heads were obviously down, and it seemed some players just didn’t want to be on the ice. Mercifully only two further goals came in the period, both to MK. The first at 49min 07sec when Smulter got his second of the night, then the final goal at 53min 26sec through Monir Kalgoum.

Verdict: Awful……worst performance of the season! More worryingly after the humiliation of the Guildford game the Phoenix seemed unable to pick themselves up and re-caputre their pre-christmas league leading form. I am now genuinely worried that, while we will qualify for the playoff’s, we won’t have the confidence to progress to Coventry. We were simply outclassed by MK, and on the face of it, don’t deserved to get to the EPL cup final. MK on the other hand were awesome, and are a good bet to win all trophies up for grabs! On a personal note, it was great to meet up with Yabba-Dabba-Doo and Catwoman (off of the MK forums) for a chat! Final comment again must be aimed at Tony Hand, that’s three full games on the trot now where you have refused to give Ben Wood any ice time! This is disgraceful!!!! Not even one shift! He may not be the most skillfull player on the ice, but there are few guys out there who work harder, skate harder and hit harder than him! It is obvious our confidence is low, so let him get on the ice and rattle some glass! This not only grinds down opponents, but it lifts the crowd, and in turn lifts the team! For god sake Tony, play him, or let him rejoin the Metro’s so he can start playing some hockey!

Attendance: A mid-week game and some pretty dire motorway conditions out there contributed to a lower than average crowd. Big props to the MK fans though, turning out in force despite the conditions. Ill guess at around 700 in last night.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 2 MK Lightning 8 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 2 MK Lightning 8 - MEN Article

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Joy Tottman - Olympic Referee

Ok so an unusually post today, you wouldn't normally expect a post devoted to a referee but that's what im doing! Fans of UK hockey may or may not have heard of Joy Tottman. She is a young referee who officiates mainly EPL games in the south of England. As such we haven't seen here at the Phoenix yet!

But the big news is, she is over representing the UK at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Having officiated at previous Olympics and world championships she is getting to be a veteran at this! Anyway she has is currently writing a blog where she talks about life at the games. Its a cracking good read!

So the important links are:

Joy Tottman Olympic Blog
Joy Tottman Appreciation Society

Go Joy!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 14th February Game Review

After the great win in Slough saturday night, the Phoenix faced Guildford in the sunday night valentines day fixture at the Ice Dome. Some on the Phoenix forum were calling this the make or break for the Phoenix title chances. To be honest I thought those died a while ago, but to stay in the hunt and get a good playoff position its games like these the Phoenix need to win. It would be a tough game, as Guildford are a quality side, and lets face it, they do have 7 or so imports on the books!

First Period: Off we go, and what an amazing advert for EPL hockey, I know those words have been mentioned on this blog before but it really was. Two top sides in full flowing hockey, it was a thing of beauty to watch! Anyway sadly it was Guildford who lit the lamp first. After 12min 54sec Tom Duggan scoring from Lubomir Hurtaj. Thankfully the Phoenix brought themselves level just about 5 minutes later. Stephen Wallace scoring after 17min 49sec.

Second Period: Well what a difference an interval can make! The Flames began to dominate the game in the second period and the Phoenix started to find scoring opportunities hard to come by! The Flames raced to a 3-1 lead, scoring next at 22min 18sec through Lubomir Hurtaj and then at 24min 16sec through Nathan Rempel. The Phoenix a bit shell shocked called a time out which managed to stem the tide a little. The Phoenix even managing to pull a goal back after 33min 47sec through Ed Courtenay. It should be mentioned that Guildford's third goal came due to the apparent lack of effort from Courtenay, so just as well he made up for it! Sadly the Flames more or less ended the game by scoring the last goal of the period, to make the scores 4-2. Martin Masa scoring after 36min 45sec.

Third Period: With the game effectively gone it was left for the Phoenix to salvage some pride. Sadly their play did not help, in another pretty poor period the Flames buried the Phoenix. Stuart Potts scoring the Flames 5th of the game after 46min 12sec. The game finished with the Flames netting again to make it 6-2 after 52min 36sec.

Verdict: In the end a poor show from the Phoenix, which was a real shame after a great and dominating performance in Slough the previous night. Alot will be made about the lack of effort shown from Ed Courtenay, however that is something we have to live with, as he does often pull out some real class moves! More worryingly for me, and other Phoenix fan's by the sounds of things is Tony Hand's reluctance to give Ben Wood ice time. This is terrible as their is no player on the Phoenix bench who work's his nuts off more. The lad works hard every shift, skates well and finishes every check he makes! Come on Tony, play the lad!!

Attendance: Apparently another Rock Radio promotion for last nights game, mean a delayed face off due to crowds! Rock Radio are a great sponsor to have, as it seems they really work hard for the Phoenix. Ill say a crowd of 1,400 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix Weekend Results - Phoenix Official

Phoenix 2 Guildford 6 - MEN Article

Monday, 15 February 2010

Slough v Phoenix 13th February Away Game Review

This would be the first away game The Angry Budgie attended this season, with a good uni friend residing in Windsor this gave me the excuse to drive down to Slough visit him and take in the Slough v Phoenix game saturday night. As a child watching/playing hockey I do remember the Hangar down in Slough. A high dome like roof and bench seating....over the years the rink has not changed!! Still quite small, intimate and warm...rather weirdly! Anyway the Jets have had the indian sign over the Phoenix all season, and this game, for the 20-25 or so travelling Phoenix fans, the Phoenix would hopefully score their first victory over Slough.

First Period: The game got underway and even from the eaarly stages it was obvious the Phoenix were playing well and starting to control the game. With some great play in the middle zone the Phoenix were able to restrict the Jets play, and when Slough did get to the Phoenix zone, the defence and Steve Fone dealt with most things with ease. The Phoenix lit the light first at 15min 05sec when Greg Wood got his first of the game. Slough hit back on the powerplay, with Hagelberg in the box on a delay of game penalty, Jan Melochar brought the score even at 18min 50sec. Thankfully the Phoenix restored their lead with just 6 sec left in the period, Ed Courtenay making up for a mistake on the Slough PP Goal by riffling the puck home.

Second Period: The second period saw the Phoenix really exert the pressure and take the game to Slough. The next goal game for the Phoenix through Adam walker after 22min 25sec. The Jets, to their credit did not give up and continued to remind the Phoenix they were there! The Phoenix went 4-1 after 27min 20sec when Greg wood got his second of the game.

Third Period: So the final 20min session would either see the Jets pull off a comeback or the Phoenix holding on for a good win. was sort of both in the end! The Jets would get their second PP goal of the game after 51min 31sec, with Hagelberg in the box again, the new Jet Ryan Watt scored. Making the scores 4-2. The Jets would ensure a tense final few minutes when Peter Poljacek scored at 56min 39sec. Entering the final minute the Jets pulled Rockman for the extra skater, and despite Ed missing an open net, by shooting OVER the goal, the Phoenix held on for their maiden win in the Hangar.

Verdict: First off I was really surprised at the poor turnout in the stands. I have no real reason to expect the Hangar to be bursting at the seems however as one of the EPL's top sides I expected more! Second off, what a poor atmosphere, the music played before the game during warm up was poor, the pre-game intro of the Slough team consisted of switching off the lights and playing the same song twice. Third off, no period break entertainment at all! Now if there are any EPL fans reading this, please accept my apologies. Looking at it as a Phoenix fan I realise we are actually quite spoilt in Altrincham. In terms of Pre-Game and On-Ice entertainment, I was just shocked that, it appeared, there was none in Slough.

Anyway the game itself, I thought the Phoenix were by far the better team and on reflection I find it so surprising that we have not been able to beat Slough before this game!! We dealt well with the offense from Slough, only really until the third period when Slough had to up their game. Even in the third when our lead slipped from 4-1 to 4-3 I thought we had the quality and desire to win the game. A final thought, while I would never want to criticise Tony Hand, he is after all the greatest ever British Ice Hockey player, it frustrates me to see Ben Wood sat on the bench and not get one shift at all. The Phoenix have never been able to afford a big team, so each place is valuable. However it amazes me that Tony seems to stick with playing two and a bit line hockey, when we have a guy who works hard every shift, skates just as well as anyone on the bench, and finishes every check perfectly. Come on Tony play the guy, the least it will do is give the other guys more of a rest!!

Attendance: 400

Phoenix Weekend Results - Manchester Online

Official Phoenix Site

Monday, 8 February 2010

Phoenix v Romford Raiders 07th February Game Review

Bit of a long wait for this home game, the previous weekend was a double away trip for the Phoenix. With a visit to the spectrum and the Flames, followed by a visit to the Hive. The Phoenix lost in Guildford and won in Bracknell, not a bad haul from the weekend, but it did mean lost points against our title rivals. Coming to tonight's game against the Raiders, the Phoenix once again visited Guildford and, despite having three players down, managed to reverse the earlier loss. The Phoenix skating away with a victory.

The Raiders came to the Ice Dome in a little turmoil, an easy win for the Phoenix? I wouldn't say so, you can only beat the team in front of you, and lets face it the Raiders have beaten the Phoenix twice this season!

First Period: The game began and it was evident it was not going to be a classic! The Raiders were poor! Lots of effort but so many passes astray and no defence for poor Charlie Kaylor in goal! The Phoenix pressure mounted and it didn't take long for them to take the lead! In fact the Phoenix raced to a 6-2 lead after the firs period. The Phoenix able to relieve Fone and give Adam Summerfield some much needed ice time. The period also saw Andre Payette grab his first home goal of the season! Goals broke down as follows:

1-0 Payette from Walker at 1min 07sec.
2-0 G Wood from B Wood at 3min 08sec.
3-0 Graham from Hand at 8min 42sec.
4-0 Payette from Mattsson at 13min 33sec.
4-1 Turner from Paris at 14min 43sec.
5-1 Lachowicz from Hand at 16min 04sec.
6-1 Payette from G Wood at 18min 45sec. Hatrick goal!
6-2 Harvey from Miller at 19min 42sec.

Second Period: With Romford being so poor, and the game effectively won, the Phoenix visibly held back and began to contain the Raiders. The Phoenix did get another goal in the period, coming from Walker at 39min 42sec.

Third Period: The last period began like the second, the main difference being a burst of goals! The Phoenix scoring another 5 goals, goals were as follows:

8-2 Graham from G Wood at 43min 17sec.
9-2 Hand from Neil on the PP at 45min 12sec.
10-2 Payette from B Wood at 45min 30sec.
11-2 Lachowicz from Hagelberg at 48min 43sec.
12-2 Wallace from Walker at 50min 32sec.
12-3 Harvey from Pliskauskas at 52min 03sec.

With the game beyond reach the Raiders gave their back up nettie, a skate out.

Verdict: A bit of a naff game really, but that's no slight against the Phoenix! The Raiders were poor! However as mentioned at the start you still have to beat the team in front of you, and the Phoenix were ruthless! The game also saw two ENL lads get some ice time, and Ben Wood get much more ice time than usual. Thankfully he took it with both hands and put in one of his best performances all season, even coming within a post's width of scoring!

Attendance: A good crowd in last night, I would say a little higher than normal! Ill say 1,174 in the Ice Dome!

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 12 Romford 3 MEN Article