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