The Angry Budgie Live

Monday, 13 September 2010

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 12th September Game Review - War of the Roses Clash

So September 12th marked the start of the 2010/11 EPL season for the Manchester Phoenix. The, now traditional, curtain raiser for the Phoenix is a home and away set against Sheffield. Not the Scimitars, but the Steeldogs, after the South Yorkshire side re-emerged with a new ownership structure.

Its been a long and boring summer for hockey fans, especially after the massive disappointment that was the world cup! For the Phoenix, the season began away at Ice Sheffield firday night. Sadly The Angry Budgie did not make the trip, I was folking out with Folkface. That's a blog post in its own right at some point in the future. Anyway, the new look Phoenix went to Sheffield, and played their first competitive game together. The side obviously clicked as the boys skated out with a 7-3 victory.

The time came for the faithful to re-convene at the Altrincham Ice Dome, and it was a sunny day that greeted all the hockey fans making the trip. With such a comfortable lead, a good first period was needed to really put the game to bed.

First Period: The new look squad burst into action and the early indications were that this years incarnation is much improved. The Phoenix defiantly have more size, and grit this year. With Kristoffersson, Dean Holland all living up to their early billing, and Huppe already showing his brilliant talent. The Phoenix fan's did not have long to wait, the new top line clicking immediately and giving Huppe a chance to score his first on home ice. Scoring after 1min 55sec assists to Marcus Kristoffersson and Tony Hand. James Neil, back for another season, was rewarded for his industry by doubling the Phoenix lead just before the 10minute mark. This goal the product of some hard work from the Phoenix second line. Huppe would round off the first period scoring getting his second of the night by jamming the puck through the Steeldog's keepers legs.

Second Period: With the game virtually won and the cup retained for another year. The Phoenix just had to ensure no silly injuries or penalties were taken, while dealing with any offence created. Huppe got his hat-trick goal just 91seconds into the second period. He is one hell of a player and one who could do very very well in the EPL! Not to be blown away completely the Steeldogs would get their own goals up on the board during this period. Peter Vaisenen scoring on the power play after 25min 57sec. James Archer showed why he is another hot prospect on the Phoenix roster by restoring the Phoenix 4 goal lead after 37min 21sec. Sheffield then scored their last of the game through Tom Squires, I think I missed the timing on that one! The final goal of the period, and as it turns out, the game, came for the Phoenix and it came for Marcus Kristoffersson who capped a brilliant break out goal from the Phoenix top line.

Third Period: Not much happened by way of real action in and around the goal mouth. But two excellent fights did break out to fire of the supporters in the stand. The first one came when Edgar Bebris checked Sir Tony Hand from behind, what erupted was an amazing display from Sir Tony. For a player not know for dropping the gloves Tony went about the fight with such determination and fire. The man was possessed! Tony was much smaller than Bebris would gave as good as he got, points win to Tony I think! The second fight was more about guts! This time the Phoenix Dean Holland went toe to toe with Aaron Strawson from the Steeldogs. A little bit weighted in Strawson's favour, Holland instantly endeared himself to the Phoenix faithful but giving it his all, plus blood and teeth!

Verdict: Not the best of games, but hey its the first of the season, but the early signs are encouraging! As mentioned above this team are a grade above the 09/10 EPL squad. Much more size and grit this year, which is exactly what the EPL needs! In Huppe Tony Hand has potentially found another great sniper. He is tall, fast and skillful, and being on Tony's line he is guaranteed to score a hatfull! As for the Steeldogs, a tough season ahead! With all their turmoil over the summer, getting through this season will be a priority. They have a very young and inexperienced squad. But in Squires and Vaisenen have two players who could provide their spark. So a win for the Phoenix and a retention of a big of silver wear, this game proved to be a useful exercise, the more meaningful test will begin next week. When the 10/11 EPL season really begins!

Apologise in advance for that one, The Angry Budgie is making its annual trip to Japan and will be missing the next Phoenix home game.

Attendance: Early pre-season non season ticket games never contribute to a full house, but i'd say a good 700 turned up for last nights game!

Phoenix TV Highlights

Manchester Phoenix Article

CB Sports article

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