The Angry Budgie Live

Monday, 29 March 2010

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 28th March Game Review

So last weekend was the final weekend of the EPL regular season, and in my weekend preview post I had predicted the Phoenix would get a four point weekend. Well saturday night saw three upsets! All three teams in the Race for Third lost! The Flames going down to the Peterborough Phantoms, the Bison to MK Lightning and the Phoenix away to the Swindon Wildcats.

In fact the Phoenix got absolutely hammered, 10-2, in what was, to quote Tony Hand:

"To say I am extremely disappointed tonight is a massive understatement. We defended poorly, gave up too many rebounds and loose pucks and without taking anything away from Swindon, we gifted them at least six goals. I want to say sorry to all the supporters who travelled a long way today, we've let them down badly tonight."

The above taken from the Manchester Phoenix site.
By all accounts the Phoenix totally bombed, not exactly the time you want your team to turn in a dire performance. This made the trip to the Ice Dome sunday a little more nerve wracking! Even though the Phoenix were 100% against the Bees, the most recent game saw the Bees cause the Phoenix a few issues, and in Dumas/Cesky and Pinch the Bees have some star forwards! In fact Cesky had been recently given the best forward in th EPL award!

A further issue to complicate things for this game, was the Bees bus deciding to break down en-route to Manchester. Meaning the large crowd in attendance was kept waiting just under 2hrs for face off. Anyway, on to the game.....!

First Period: When games have been delayed before the Phoenix have looked flat at the opening faceoff. But this time the Bees looked like their minds were still on the bus. The Phoenix came out flying and hit the Bees straight away. Scoring twice in the first 2 minutes. Ian Bowie scoring even handed, and possibly the Phoenix quickest goal to date, after just 26sec. Adam Walker doubled their lead, when both teams had a man in the box, making it 4 on 4 out on the ice. The Phoenix pressure continued and the Bees were rattled and not quite sure what to do. The Phoenix third goal came after 9min 47sec when Adam Walker got his second of the night. First period scoring was rounded up after 16min 23sec when Jaakko Hagelberg made it 4-0 on the PP. Those Phoenix fans in attendance over the moon, and sensing the game was already over.

Second Period: The Bees would come out and score the first goal of this period, at 22min 39sec through Ashley Calvert. The next goal would decide the course of the game, if it were the Bees, the pressure was on, if not, game over! Thankfully it was the Phoenix who scored next. After 26min 41sec Stephen Wallace scored un-assisted. Bees heads had truly fallen by this stage, and the Phoenix lay siege to the Bees net. Tony Hand would take a shot and finish the scoring in the second with just 16sec left in the period.

Third Period: With the game effectively won, the Phoenix just had to close out the game and not take any stupid penalties. Which, to be fair to him, Cesky was trying to draw out of the Phoenix! Adam Walker would complete his hatrick after 35min 37sec to make the scores 8-1. Mattsson would cap an impressive performance by scoring after 44min 11sec. And Adam would get his fourth to cap a fantastic Phoenix performance, scoring after 53min 06sec.

Verdict: A game that could have been very tricky and quite a tetchy one, turned out to be a bit of a one horse race. Sadly the Bees transport troubles really affected the game. In the end the Phoenix superior quality shone through. A real highlight was Adam Walker getting his 50th goal of the season. He is a player who has developed so well in this 2009/10 season, I would not be surprised if a few EIHL teams came a nocking! The Phoenix also proved saturday night in Swindon was a blip, this performance was a back to there best classic! A great crowd in the Dome for the least league game of the season, buyoed by at least 300 scouts made for an excellent atmosphere! With this win the Phoenix secure 3rd place and a playoff series with the Peterborough Phantoms.

Attendance: Another biggie, I would say 1,526 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 10 Bees 1 Phoenix Article

Phoenix 10 Bees 1 MEN Article

Thursday, 25 March 2010

EPL 2009/10 Season Final Weekend Preview

Yes as promised this is the first weekend preview The Angry Budgie has done all season! Right at the end of the season too! Its a worthwhile weekend to look ahead to though, the Phoenix battling both Guildford and Basingstoke for 3rd place in the league, and a probably playoff quarter final against the Peterborough Phantoms. Currently the placings in the race for third are as follows:

3rd Manchester Phoenix 70 points
4th Guildford Flames 69 points
5th Basingstoke Bison 69 points

So its as tight as a......well very tight thing going into the final weekend!

First off lets look at the Basingstoke Bison, the Bison finished the 2008/09 season, with the Phoenix in the EIHL. For very similar reasons to the Phoenix they chose to move to the EPL, and are lead by an older statesmen of the league in Steve Moria. As I have mentioned on the Phoenix podcast before, Steve Moria is much like our own Tony Hand, you do not leave him alone in and around the net, he will punish you! Personally I like the Bison, they are a team I like to use as a yard stick for the Phoenix progress in a season. Out of the 6 regular season meetings between the two sides the Phoenix enjoy a W4 L2 record against the Bison. Every game being very entertaining affairs! In the Race for Fourth the Bison's remaining two games are away to league winners MK Lightning and then home to the Swindon Wildcats. For differing reasons I can see the Bison securing either a full four point weekend or getting nothing! Against the Lightning, that result could depend on how bothered MKL are. They could either take it easy as they have won the league already, or wish to end their home season on a high, and get a good result before the playoff's start! Their home game against the Wildcats will be no walk in the park either, the Cat's are in the hunt for the final playoff spot and will want the two points as much as the Bison do!

Next, the Guildford Flames, the richest team in the EPL, arguably, and probably the only team who can sign more than the required 4 imports and be able to 'rest' them as required. Having said that they are a very good team, one that the Phoenix have struggled against all season. A regular, for many years in the EPL, and a team that is regularly linked with a step up to the EIHL. Standout players for the Flames this season for me have been Adrian Saul and Lukas Smital, both very skillful players, and both who seem to enjoy scoring against the Phoenix! The Flames have held onto 3rd place for most of the season, but, through a little inconsistency have fallen a place to 4th. Like against the Bison, games against the Flames have always been great adverts for EPL hockey. If I have got my results correct, the 6 game set with the Flames ended up split with both teams winning 3 games each. Guildford's final week is a little more congested than either the Phoenix or Bison, as they have a second leg of the Cup Final against MK Lightning to fit in. The Flames taking a 6-1 lead back to the Thunder Dome in MK. Their final two league games see them face, last year's all conquering Peterborough Phantoms, and then a, supposedly, easy trip away to the Romford Raiders. Lets get the Raiders game done with, that should be an easy two points for the Flames, but you never know! The Phantom's game is a little more interesting. They have become a very difficult team to beat in the final months of the season, plus they could also have a big say in who they want to face in the playoff's! So I may go for a potential upset in this one!

...and finally the Manchester Phoenix. An up and down season for the Phoenix first attempt at EPL hockey! Leading the league for much of the first half of the season, then a very iffy spell over Dec/Jan and Feb as the Phoenix lost Stephen Fone to injury and four young lads to the GB championships. This dropped the Phoenix to 5th in the table, thankfully since the middle of Feb, the Phoenix have lead a revival, playing much better hockey, and in much improved form. Some Phoenix fan's will also say, myself included, that the Phoenix have played more as a team when Ed Courtenay has not been on the ice. The revival has also coincided, it must be said, with a bit more of a favorable run in terms of fixtures. That dark period over Christmas and the New Year, the Phoenix seemed to come up against the Lightning/Flames and Jets every other game! Even so, the Phoenix have re-grouped and have now hit some great form right when it matters. Hauling themselves back up to third and looking good for it! The final league games for the Phoenix are away to Swindon and home to Bracknell. In many cases, that should be an easy 4 point weekend, but its complicated by both the Wildcats and Bee's fighting it out for the last playoff spot. Personally, as we are going for 3rd place I do not see the home game against the Bee's causing an upset. The Phoenix just seem to go up a gear and go out of sight, when ever the Bees threaten. The away game in Swindon, saturday night, could be tricky! The Wildcats have hit some good form and will be no pushovers! Results against the two teams are as follows:

Phoenix against the Wildcats, won 5 of 5.
Phoenix against the Bees, won 5 of 5.

Both games will be tough, even though I have the Phoenix down to win the Bee's game, our last two games against the Bees have been closer 5-4 victories. This final weekend will be so tight, the Phoenix could end up either in 3rd/4th or 5th and play either the Flames/Bison or Phantoms in the quarter final. Personally, I do think the Phoenix have hit form just right, and I don't see the table positioning changing after this weekends games.

So that's it, your weekend preview, I think the Phoenix will get a four point weekend! There should be a good travelling support going down to Swindon to cheer the boys on. And the Dome should be rocking with a great crowd against the Bee's on sunday. With nearly 400 Scouts in attendance, and a fair few friends of mine coming to either their first or second Phoenix games, it should be a busy Ice Dome! Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Phoenix v Romford Raiders 21st March Game Review

After the superb win away in Sheffield the Phoenix return to the Altrincham Ice Dome for a home match against bottom club Romford Raiders. So far this season the Phoenix have thrashed the Raiders on home ice, while suffering two away defeats as it seemed the Phoenix struggled to adapt to the Raiders home venue. The Raiders are having an awful season, bottom of the league, not even in double figures for wins. Every game, seemingly a damage limitation exercise! Despite this the Raiders never give up in a game, they always fight to the finish, and, in Frankie Sabine, they have a hot goaltending prospect for the future!

First Period: Even though the Phoenix were 99% sure to win this game, there is always going to be a little unease until that first goal goes in. Just like the Sheffield game the previous night, the Phoenix were ahead in the first minute. After just 32sec Ian Bowie slotted the puck past Charlie Kaylor in the Romford net. It really was one way traffic for most of the first period, the Raiders getting the odd break away opportunity, only to find Stephen Fone in fine form. The inevitable second goal came after 9min 11sec when Jaakko Hagelberg got his first of the night. The final goal of the period came for the Phoenix with just 20sec to go in the first session. Jaakko Hagelberg scoring to make the scores 3-0 to the Phoenix. If anything we could have called a halt to the game their and then, it was obvious the Phoenix were going to secure the points! But still, the Raiders did not give up!

Second Period: The Phoenix had visibly eased up the pace, but even so were out of sight when compared to the Raiders. A sign of this was how long it took for the next goal to go in! Ian Bowie got his second of the game at the 28min 37sec mark in the second session. Adam Walker came next on the Phoenix scoresheet scoring on the powerplay after 30min 54sec. It always seems like Adam needs a few shots to really get his eye in! This game being much like the Scimitar game for Adam, scoring after a few attempts. Something strange was also happening in this game, Tony Hand Was taking shots!!! In fact it was Tony who scored the Phoenix 6th goal of the night, coming after 38min 27sec. The Raiders did break the potential Shutout for Fone by scoring even handed through the Raiders top line. Darius Pliskauskas scoring at 39min 39sec.

Third Period: With Adam Summerfield in goal for the Phoenix, the home side looked to close out the win and not take any stupid penalties or injuries. even with a much reduced level the Phoenix still managed to score just after the re-start. James Neil stepping up and scoring just 54sec into the period. Step up Ian Bowie, the young Scot got his hatrick goal at the 43min 27sec mark, this would also signal the end for Charlie Kaylor in the Romford goal. In goal for the remaining 15 minutes was young Frankie Sabine. All 17 years old and 5ft of him! The young lad played out of his skin, pulling off some damn fine saves, including deflecting a bullet of a shot from Tony Hand with his face! This young lad's performance instantly endeared himself to the Phoenix faithful, with his name ringing out from the stands almost immediately! Unfortunately he could not stop the goals! Stephen Wallace pulling off some nice skill to score after 47min 05sec, and 57min 16sec to close out the game. Making the final scores 10-1 to the Phoenix.

Verdict: Despite the score, as soon as the first goal went in for the Phoenix it was a case of how many can we score? The Raiders are a poor team, but what they lack in terms of skill is made up by sheer effort. All their visits to the Dome, despite the scores, have been characterized by their never say die attitude. They always work for the full 60minutes. You could sum up their commitment in young Frankie Sabine. If their is one bright spot to their season, it is in their back up netminder. A hot prospect for the future. As for the Phoenix, they never needed to move into top gear, sundays game was about securing the two points and not making any silly mistakes. Ben Wood looked to be loving the ice time, I think that game saw him on the ice more than ever! It was also good to see young Mr Summerfield get an extended run out, and Max Drakley getting a fair bit of ice time himself! He is another Ben Wood in the making. Very strong, fast and willing to throw himself around! He is pretty much where Ben was last season in terms of his development. Hopefully he can return next season and, as Ben has, push for more time on the ice!

Attendance: A decent crowd in the Dome, ill say around 800

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 10 - Romford 1 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 10 - Romford 1 - MEN Article

Keep your eyes glued to these pages, hopefully tomorrow will see The Angry Budgie's first weekend preview go up. Great timing I know, it being the last regular season weekend!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Scimitars v Phoenix 20th March Away Game Review

The Angry Budgie travelled across the peninnes for the last visit of the Phoenix to Ice Sheffield and the Scimitars. So far this season the Phoenix have been able to beat the Scims and take the points. However each game has been tough, and the Scims usually give the Phoenix a run for their money, and the games are usually entertaining affairs. The fixture gods obviously had an off day last saturday, the Scims v Phoenix game coinciding with 'The Most Over hyped Rivalry in Sport' taking place across the way in the tin shed and Doncaster playing at home at the stadium next door. Consequently the Scim's home support was shockingly low, and parking was a nightmare! Even the home announcer had to explain due to Ron Shudra's shirt retirement taking place before the Steelers/Panthers game 'That's where everyone is'! Even so the Phoenix faithful travelled in force, taking up at least two thirds of one side of seating. I'd guess around 150 fans made the trip.

First Period: The Phoenix opened the scoring within the first minute, after winning the opening faceoff and moving the puck in the Sheffield zone, Greg Wood found Robert Lachowicz in front of goal, who slotted home a neat backhand, putting the Phoenix 1-0 up with just 32sec on the board. After the shock of conceding so early, the Scimitars regrouped and began to exert some pressure of their own. They tied the game up on the powerplay after 10min 14sec when the excellent James Archer scored in front of the away support. Despite having most of the pressure and chances, the Phoenix were being kept at bay by the excellent Ben Bowns in goal. So it was against the run of play when the Scimitar's took the lead, Stuart Brittle scoring after 18min 26sec.

Second Period: Ben Bownes continued to frustrate the Phoenix in the second period, as the Phoenix looked to tie the game. It would take at least 14minutes of the second period to break through the stubborn Scimitars defence. However once they did, the game was won. In a superb 4 minute spell the Phoenix raced into a lead, from which they would not look back. Rob Lachowicz would get his second of the game at 34min 12sec. Under two minutes later Stephen Wallace would return to haunt his old club, scoring at the 36min 08sec mark. The Phoenix went 4-2 up when Adam Walker finally scored, prior to this he had at least three opportunities when alone in front of Bowns. Adam's goal coming after 38min 28sec on the powerplay.

Third Period: With the game effectively won, the Phoenix just had to remain composed and not allow any easy opportunities for the Scim's to creep back into the game. Visibly easing off the Phoenix were still much the better team, and a quick one minute brace from Ian Bowie would ensure the points heading back across the Pennines to Manchester. Bowie's first goal came at 45min 53sec and his second at 46min 57sec. With the game won, it was time for the fans in the stands to enjoy them selves!

Verdict: A good win, against a very sticky Sheffield side. Even though the Phoenix have taken all the points available against the Scim's they have not been easy games. The Scimitar's have some quality players and play with alot of passion. With the hunt for third place looking like coming down to the last weekend of the season, points like these become immensely valuable. Sheffield are a team that can beat anyone in this league if they are at their best! A special mention must go to the travelling Phoenix support, wow! What a turn out! Given the official match attendance was 502, I would say at least 150 of that were Phoenix fans!

Sheffield 2 - Phoenix 6 Phoenix Article

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 14th March Game Review

The second half of the Phoenix home double header saw the visit of the Bracknell Bee's to the Altrincham Ice Dome. The Bees would be in search of their first win against the Phoenix, while the Phoenix would look to complete another 4 point weekend. This would not be a given against a good Bees side who play a very physical game. While the Bees may not have the most talented squad on the ice, they do have three star players. Claude Dumas, while getting on a bit, still has the hands and vision to put many to shame! Then the excellent duo of Jaroslav Cesky and Michal Pinc heading up the attack, the Bees cannot be taken lightly!

First Period: Before the game began I thought so long as we stay out the penalty box we should win this nice and easy! That didn't quite go to plan, when in the first 11mins the Phoenix had 3 penalties while the Bees had one! The Bees made sure it was an anxious start for the home side by taking the lead after just 3mins. Shane Moore putting the men from Bracknell ahead. Thankfully the Phoenix replied just 90seconds later, when at 4min 36sec, Andre Mattsson found Tony Hand, who took a shot to score! The Phoenix extended the lead after 6min 14sec when Jaakko Hagelberg scored with assists to Mattsson and Hand. The Phoenix made it three after 9min 48sec when Ryan Johson found Andre Payette in the slot, who turned and took a shot very quick to beat the Bees keeper to make it 3-1.

Second Period: The Phoenix had done well so far to keep the Bees at bay, more of the same required in the second! The Phoenix more or less ensured they got the two points by scoring the first goal of the second session. coming at 26min 24sec Jaakko got his second of the game. Not to be totally blown away the Bees made sure the Phoenix remembered they were there, after 36min 53sec Michal Pinc got their second of the game. The Poenix got the last goal of the period at 38min 16sec when Ian Bowie finished off a great move from the Phoenix, Scores going into the break 5-2.

Third Period: Main aim for the Phoenix in the last 20mins would be to stay out of the box and stay healthy. The Phoenix extra quality really came into play as the Bees began to tire.Robert Lachowicz would get the sixth goal at 44min 44sec. The Bees then responded on the powerplay at 46min 10sec when Cesky got their third of the game. The final goal, and the Phoenix seventh, came at 52min 25sec with Jaakko Hagelberg getting his hatrick goal.

Verdict: The Phoenix really are clicking at the moment, they have managed to recapture their form from the first half of the season. A good time too, with just 5 games left of the season, the Phoenix now look like they could secure 3rd place in the league. This weekend was a tough test, Sheffield and Bracknell are no mugs! Even so the Phoenix kept their focus and dealt with the threat, and ground out the win.

Attendance: Good crowd in the Dome, i'd say around 800.

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 7 Bracknell 3 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 7 Bracknell 3 - MEN Article

Monday, 15 March 2010

Phoenix v Sheffield 13th March Game Review

Right so after the four point weekend from the 6/7th March next up for the Phoenix was the double home weekend facing the Sheffield Scimitars and the Bracknell Bees. Saturday saw the Scimitars come to town, sadly The Angry Budgie could not attend. We had gone to the Manchester Academy to see Chimaira and Trivium. A separate review of that gig should appear some time this week!

Anyway from all accounts the Sheffield game was another corker, as games against the Scimitars usually are! In fact im more gutted about Mr Tony Hand MBE dropping the gloves! Yes you read that right, Tony had a fight! He wasn't the only one too! Andre Payette and Jaakko also get into some rough stuff!

More importantly the Phoenix got the win, as silly as it seemed less than a couple of weeks ago, and after results elsewhere in the league, 3rd place is now a possibility for the Phoenix!!

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 4 Sheffield 1 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 4 Sheffield 1 - Manchester Online Article

Read more about the weekend at the Triple Deake Ice Hockey Blog and The Pyre.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Phoenix v Phantoms 07th March Game Review

So the weekend just gone was a big opportunity for the Phoenix to re-group and get some much needed wins under their belts. Heading in the Phoenix had been on a run of 6 consecutive losses, which had seen them fall to 5th in the table. The weekend wouldn't start easy, the Phoenix had the long trip down to Romford for saturday nights game, other teams seem to find a visit to Rom Valley Way a nice way of collecting two points and inflating their goal difference. The Phoenix seemingly not able to do so having lost both previous visits. This time, however, despite the loss of Ed Courtenay and Stephen Wallace, the Phoenix got the win. Adam Walker netting a hatrick.

Coming onto last nights game, the Romford win injecting some confidence into the team, the Phantoms would prove a tougher test, Peterborough have been putting a good run together. So a win would not be a given!

First Period: The past couple of games have seen the Phoenix nearly conceed a goal from the first faceoff. In the past those opportunities came to nothing, but not against the Phantoms! So after just 40sec the Phantoms took the lead, Maris Ziedins netting the opening goal. The Phoenix re-grouped and began to apply some pressure. The game tieing goal came on the powerplay, I know madness! Andre Mattsson scoring after 6min 07sec. Despite the Phoenix pressure the Phantoms would go into the first intermission ahead, scoring after 8min 36sec through Joe Miller.

Second Period: The Phoenix upped their game in the second period and began to camp out in the Phantoms zone. Despite the pressure the Phoenix just couldn't get past the excellent Stephen Wall in goal. All the pressure began to get at Mr Wall, who became more and more frustrated with his own defence. The Phoenix finally tied the game again after 34min 50sec through an even handed goal from Ian Bowie. The Phoenix then took the lead just under 3min later at 37min 06sec through Robert Lachowicz.

Third Period: I think the Phoenix eased up a little in the third period, as it was not all one way traffic. The Phoenix did, however, extend their lead over the Phantoms this period. After 41min 14sec Adam Walker would get the first of his second hatrick of the weekend. Remarkably the Phoenix would score two short handed goals, and those goals giving Mr Walker his hatrick. His second came after 48min 14sec and the 3rd goal coming after 50min 35sec. The game now won the Phoenix eased off. This of course let the Phantoms in and ensure a tense end to the period. The Phantoms increased their pressure and clawed a goal back after 51min 52sec through Brent Gough. The Pirates then made if 6-4 with 59sec left in the game through Joe Miller again.

Verdict: This game could have easily gone very wrong for the Phoenix, the Phantoms, despite their league position are still a very good team! But, thankfully, the Phoenix have found their ability again! A much needed win, and more importantly a 4 point weekend! What was encouraging was the performance, the Phoenix were creating chances and dealing well in defence. Not perfect but a much improved game. Reasons to be cheerful!

Attendance: A good crowd again in the Dome, ill say 900 in!

Phoenix TV Highlights:

Phoenix 6 Peterborough 4 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 6 Peterborough 4 - MEN Article

Romford 2 Phoenix 10 - Phoenix Article

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Angry Budgie Live: Machine Head, 26th February, Manchester Apollo

So a treat for you now, last friday the Phoenix went off to the Manchester Apollo to see a pretty metal gig! We had Bleeding Through, Hatebreed and then Machine Head. The Apollo is a great venue for gigs, and we had some excellent seats near the stage. The gig would prove to be one of, if not the, loudest gigs I have ever been to!

Anyway onto the gig......

Bleeding Through: I do like Bleeding Through but my girlfriend is the big fan! They didn't have long on stage but with the time they did have, they rocked hard and, im sure, converted a few fans in the Apollo! The obvious attraction is the raaaaather lovely Marta on keyboards, but the rest of the band are ok too! :) Of the whole set I think it was the closer I liked the best, Kill To Believe.

Hatebreed: Those of you who read my posts from Download 2009, will know I declared Hatebreed my band of the festival. Well with the 45min or so they had they did not disappoint. Many people will call them boring, and ill admit they have a formula and they stick to it But i say, is that so bad? They are so damn heavy, each song is like 3 mins of pure heavy metal. Starting, rather surprisingly, with I Will Be Heard, though you could argue, what a song to start with! That song is like a signal, you better be ready to rock hard! Another highlight for me is Perseverance, that song is so damn good, and really really heavy live! They finished off the set with a song that is to become a new anthem for Hatebreed, ladies and gentlemen I give you.....Destroy Everything!

Machine Head: There is not much that needs to be said about Machine Head! One of the best live bands going, and a band that consistently deliver epic performances. Tonight they owned the Apollo, pulling off a superb 1 hour 40 min set. Even inducing a young chap to jump from the upper seating to the pit below!! You know your in for a great performance when the set opens up with Clenching the Fists of Dissent and Imperium! Imperium showcasing Dave McClain's epic drumming. The headline set also saw the volume get cranked up, my ears have only just now recovered from friday night!! When they eventually went off for the encore, everyone knew what song was left to play! The band came on and played Halo followed by the epic Davidian. If ever one song sum up a band it is Davidian......enjoy......

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Phoenix v Slough Jets 28th February Game Review

It was with some worry The Angry Budgie headed back up the M1 and M6 to Altrincham for the home game against the Jets. The Jets are a team that has had the better of the Phoenix all season, bar one game, and given the hammering handed out by the Lightning saturday night my optimism was not high! The one bright light for the Phoenix would be the welcome return of Jaakko Hagelberg. Hopefully this would breath some much needed life into the Phoenix ranks.

First Period: Phew, the good Phoenix team turned up! It was clear from the off that Ton had drilled the guys hard. Given various match night comments it seems the team have had to sit through a number of video nasty sessions! While the Phoenix were not blemish free, their play was much better. More connected and some ideas being worked out on the ice. The Phoenix were finally creating chances! Not quite finishing them off, but creating chances!! Despite this Slough were first to score in the game, after just 4min 50sec Peter Poljacek scored. Thankfully Phoenix heads did not sink, and they kept plugging away. Sadly Slough would get their second on the powerplay, the excellent Blaz Emersic scoring after 15min 04sec. Phoenix efforts would be finally rewarded when Adam Walker got them on the board after 17min 32sec. The Ice Dome heaving a big sigh of relief!

Second Period: The Phoenix did not capitulate and carried on the form from the first period. More chances created and some energy out on the ice. With a big powerplay opportunity at the start of the second the Phoenix pressed hard. Adam Walker would step up and score the game tie'ing goal. Just 24sec into the second period! There would be no further goals in the period as both teams cancelled each other out.

Third Period: A few careless mistakes began to work their way into the Phoenix play in the last 20mins. This period would see the Jets take a commanding lead, one that they would not relinquish. The Jets would take the game in a frantic 1min 40sec period, with goals including another breakaway goal. Those type of goals seeming to be typical of th Phoenix at the moment. The Jets go ahead goal came at 43min 04sec when Ciaran Long score, then at 44min 47sec Andrew Monroe secured the points for the Jets.

Verdict: Disappointing to loose the game after the Phoenix performance in the first two periods. However as we all know hockey is a 60min game! The Phoenix have improved alot, however need to concentrate full the full 60min to really motor on. But lets not get too depressed, there were signs of life from the Phoenix. Hagelberg's return proving to be a big factor, and Ben Wood impressing again with his extra ice time. It seems returning him to his more natural defensive position has done wonders!

Attendance: Despite the Phoenix poor form, and the big loss in MK the previous night it wasn't too bad in terms of attendance.1,120 souls inside the Ice Dome.

Phoenix TV highlights:

Phoenix 2 Slough 4 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 2 Slough 4 - MEN Article

Monday, 1 March 2010

Milton Keynes v Phoenix 24th February Away Game Review

Last saturday the Phoenix played their second game in MK of the week, this time it was for two EPL points. Anyone who is a regular on these pages, or on the Phoenix forum, or indeed anyone who pays attention to EPL results will know the Phoenix are not having the best of times at the moment. Confidence is low, and recent results have seen the Phoenix loose touch with the top of the league.

Originally I had decided to make the trip down to MK pre-christmas in much happier times. So given the Phoenix run of form coming into this game I was not looking forward to this game. In fact the performance was more important for me! The Phoenix were playing in MK the wednesday prior, in the EPL Cup semi-final second leg. By all accounts the Phoenix played much better and managed a 3-3 draw. So a little optimism filled the 30-40 or so Phoenix fans who made the trip!

First Period: The game faced off and a decent crowd responded creating a great atmosphere! The worrying thing for the Phoenix fan's in attendance was the early defensive mistakes being made by the whole team! I cannot single the D out, it was the team who were leaving Steve Fone out to dry! He is, as we all know, not at full strength, and this shows! So it was no surprise Mk scored the first goal of the game, coming after 4min 30sec eternal annoyance, but a damn good player, Leigh Jamieson scoring. Things didnt get much better for the Phoenix, as they pressed MK in their own zone it left them open to the odd man rush. This has been the story of the Phoenix defence for a while now. MK extended their lead after 12min 03sec when the excellent Nick Pool scored. The period finished badly for the Phoenix when MK went 3-0 up, this time after 18min 44sec Michael Wales scored.

Second Period: Phoenix fan hopes for a revival were well and truly crushed in the second period. 4 un-answered goals would put the Lightning 7-0 up. The first goal of the period came after 25min 15sec from Leigh Jamieson. Next up to score was Michael Wales again after 27min 54sec. Third goal of the period came from Monir Kalgoum after 32min 24sec on the powerplay. Mercifully the final goal of the period came from Lukas Zatopek at 33min 32sec. With the game won the Phoenix swapped goaltenders to give young Adam Summerfield some experience. The damage was done, and the main thing for the Phoenix would be to avoid a humiliation. The Phoenix did finally break the MK defence and Robert Lachowicz would score the only Phoenix goal of the game at 39min 18sec.

Third Period: The Lightning also took the opportunity to send out their back up nettie. So the last 20 mins would hopefully see a Phoenix goal and some life. Sadly only on of those came true! With much of the sting taken out of the game MK would score only two further goals. The first coming at 43min 42sec when Leigh Jamieson scored his second of the night. The last goal of the game came at 50min 58sec shorthanded, when Lewis Christie broke down the ice to score.

Verdict: A terrible performance from the Phoenix, and one severely punished buy the league leaders. The Phoenix are in a slump right now, and it is obvious confidence is rock bottom. Also worryingly the Phoenix seem to lack ideas on the ice. This game was evident of that, plus some players on the roster are just not putting the effort in. As evident by some of the comments from MK fans, Ben Wood put another great performance in, and yet he gets overlooked so many times!

So there we have it, a painful loss to MK, if you want to go and read a review of the game from an MK point of view, head on over to Tanya's MK Lightning Blog. Next up for this blog will be a review of the Phoenix home game against Slough Jets, that will go up tomorrow hopefully! Then wednesday a treat, last friday The Angry Budgie went live, and attended the Manchester Apollo to see the mighty Machine Head!

Milton Keynes 9 Phoenix 1 - Phoenix Article