Last sunday saw the Phantoms come to the Ice Dome for the second leg of the EPL Playoff Quarter Final tie. It was all set up to be a tense game, after the first leg in Peterborough ended in a 3-3 tie. Personally I would have taken a draw, im only slightly disappointed to find out the Phoenix lead 3-1 at the beginning of the third period! Anyway the game at the Ice Dome saw a large crowd turn up, and the early atmosphere was electric, even before the first face off.
Firs Period: As typical in playoff hockey, the pace was fast, the game was skill full, the crowd were biting their nails! The Phantoms league position really does their team no justice. They have really turned it on in the last month or so, and in Stephen Wall, have, on his day, a fantastic shot stopper. The key for the Phoenix would be to score on him early, or at least by the end of the first period. The Phoenix did so after 8min 20sec, Greg Wood broke down the left wing and centred the puck for Robert Lachowicz. The speed of the past leaving Wall woefully out of position, and sending the home fans into ecstasy. The Phantoms did not give up and pressed the Phoenix, but the Phoenix goal was leading a charmed life, and despite some open goals the Phantoms just couldn't score. The Phoenix then punished this, when at the 16min 42sec mark, Ryan Johnson crashed the net and slipped the puck through Stephen Wall. End of the first period, and the Phoenix were well in control.
Second Period: The game became much more cagey in the second, with both teams testing the opposition goal. The period also saw the liability that is, referee Wardell come into his own. Im not complaining as he was terrible for both teams. But there were plenty of moments where fans were left wondering what game he was watching! The Phantoms would get themselves into the game after the 35min 11sec mark when the excellent Maris Ziedns got the Phantoms within one!
Third Period: Squeaky bum time, and 20mins was all that separated the Phoenix from Coventry. The Phantoms were not done, and broke Phoenix fan's hearts by grabbing the next goal. Maris Ziedns got his second of the game at 44min 47sec, beating Stephen Fone through the five hole. With nails almost gone, the game looked like it was to head to overtime, the Phantoms now well in the ascendancy. But the moment came, after 57min 11sec young James Neil found a gap and his shot from the point crossed the line. The Ice Dome then explodes and the roof nearly comes off completely. The Phoenix then saw out the remaining time to book their place in Coventry.
Verdict: What a game, what a tie, the Phantoms, while heartbroken, should not be down! They played brilliantly and contributed to a great quarter final. The Phoenix played very well, and for once the hockey gods were looking kindly upon them. Phew, im knackered just remembering it!
Attendance: Another good crowd in the Ice Dome and those in attendance were sent home happy! (So long as you were a Phoenix fan!) Im going to say 1,600 in the Dome.
Phoenix TV Highlights:
Phoenix 3 Peterborough 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Peterborough 2 - MEN Article