Saturday night saw the Phoenix head down the M6 to Swindon for the first visit to the link centre. In the end it seem's and improved Cats team met a Phoenix team that struggled on the night. The two sides locked together at 2-2 going into a penalty shootout the Cats would succeed and win the extra point. A disappointing result for the Phoenix, however if you are going to loose, at least get something out of the game!
The Milton Keynes Lightning were the visitors to the Ice Dome sunday night, a very tough game which would see the Phoenix emerge from the weekend with either a disappointing 1 point weekend, or a pretty good 3 point weekend!
First Period: Previous games against the Lightning have been particular highlights for many a Phoenix fan. Last nights game started off, not quite at the same fast paced franetic exhibition of hockey! It was clear that MKL wanted to avenge their opening season game loss to the Phoenix, with pure aggression. This is a Phoenix biased blog I will admit, but messers McPherson and Jamieson were prime protagonists. The former going after Kristofferson right from the get go! There was plenty of niggly chippy tactics going on, and it was clear this could become a very bad tempered game! An example of which was an early scuffle involving Sir Tony 'Killer' Hand getting into another fight, and teaching Mr McPherson a lesson. Despite all this some hockey was played, and the Phoenix were first to break the deadlock when Kristofferson scored at 15min 25sec. After McPherson decided to slash Kristofferson, getting himself ejected from the game, the resulting re-start saw the Phoenix fast asleep. MKL capitalised on this to draw level, scoring through Monir Kalgoum at 16min 17sec. The Ice Dome erupted with emotion when Tony Hand found Tom Duggan who scored to put the Phoenix ahead, the emotion in his celebration showing how much it meant! Goal scored at 17min 57sec.
Second Period: I think both teams had done alot of cooling off during the period break, the two clubs came out and a proper hockey game started, with the odd hint of cheeky play. MKL got the first goal of the period when Lukas Zatopek scored after 23min 49sec. The game continued to be close, but the Phoenix slowly asserted their authority on the game, and a mistake by the MKL defence allowed the Phoenix to pull ahead. Greg Wood pouncing on a free puck not 2 meters from Barry Hollyehead, pausing just enough and slotting the puck throught the 5-hole. The next goal would be key to how the rest of the game would pan out, thankfully it came to the Phoenix! After 33min 43sec James Archer capitalised on another MKL mistake to send them into the break 4-2 up.
Third Period: The old addage, next goal win's applied in the third period! MKL get it and its game on, Phoenix get it and its game over! After frustrating MKL in the early stages Curtis Huppe scored for the Phoenix after 55min 46sec. Game over! The rest of the game passed off without much incident and the Phoenix were able to cap off a great weekend!
Verdict: This weekend just gone could have been so so different! MKL will always be a very very tough test for the Phoenix, and are a team by which the Phoenix must judge themselves. Coming off the disappointing loss to Swindon the night before it was going to be tough to make the weekend a success. But it is a testament to this years Phoenix squad that this team, quite clearly, will not be bullied off the ice! They played well, lived with MKL for half the game, before dominating the rest! Yes some fans will moan there was an increased chippyness about the Phoenix, but I would argue, the Phoenix are only doing what every other EPL team does!
Phoenix TV Highlights:
Attendance: I'll guess maybe 1,250
Phoenix 5 Milton Keynes 2 - CB Sport Article
Phoenix 5 Milton Keynes 2 - Phoenix Article