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. Well.....it 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!!
Phoenix Weekend Results - Manchester Online
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