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