The first game of a double header for The Angry Budgie, the Phoenix had a home game against the Steeldogs on saturday night. Before an away trip to Telford on sunday. This would seam an 'easy' weekend for the Phoenix but these were two teams who, not necessarily brimming with skill and flair, could grind an opponent down through grit and hard work. Add to that Phoenix would be without their starting netminder Steve Fone, who picked up a nasty injury the previous weekend. Ben Wood would also be nursing an injured shoulder, but he would ice for the weekends games.
First Period: The Phoenix were a little slow out of the blocks during the first period, and the Steeldogs were quick to start a physical type of game. It was clear this game would not be the usual flowing type of hockey seen at the Ice Dome this season, but it would be the Phoenix who scored first. After 4mi 09sec Marcus Kristoffersson blasted a shot through Ben Bowns to light the lamp for the Phoenix. With Adam largely untouched so far in the game it must have been difficult for him to settle into the flow, and he will defiantly want the Steeldogs first goal back. A shot from Edgar Bebris seemed to get deflected of Adam's stick and just leapfrog him into the goal. The game tying goal coming after 8min 27sec. The Phoenix went back in front after 14min 32sec when Curtis Huppe scored and put the Phoenix back in front.
Second Period: Ben Bowns was performing brilliantly in goal for Sheffield, by rights the Phoenix could have been a good 6 goals clear had it not been for Ben. He was single handedly keeping Sheffield in the game. During the second session he would continue to frustrate the Phoenix attack. The Phoenix faithful must have wondered if tonight was not going to follow the script when the Steeldogs tied the game after 24min 49sec through Andrew Hirst. At least, when ever the Steeldogs did score the Phoenix were able to shift through the gears and re-take the lead. James Archer would provide the Phoenix with the lead heading into the third period scoring after 28min 24sec.
Third Period: With the Steeldogs tiring the Phoenix had to just shut up shop and see out the game. They kept up the pressure but Ben Bowns continued his man-of-the-match performance by keeping the Phoenix attack at bay. The only goal of the third period came to the fantastically hard working Brit line, and a second goal for Ben Wood. The Phoenix crashed the net and kept the pressure up on Bowns, he then spilled the puck to Ben Wood who, on a very tight angle, slotted the puck home, sparking a big celebration from fans and players alike. With the game now won, the Phoenix just had to finish off the game and collect the first two points of the weekend.
Verdict: A tough game against a determined Sheffield side. While they may not have the obvious flair of other teams, Sheffield will grind many team down through their hard work and determination, and being backed up by Ben Bowns. This lad is a talent and could very well win a few games for the Steeldogs himself. This was a game that proved the Phoenix could win without flair and flashy plays, and a game that really proved how valuable our British lines are this season. Plus another great performance by Ben Wood, this year really could be a stand up and take notice season for him!
Attendance: 884 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix TV Highlights:
To come.....when ever the Phoenix get round to doing them!
Phoenix 4 Sheffield 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Sheffield 2 - CB Spprt Article