The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Telford Tigers v Manchester Phoenix 24th October Game Review

Sunday saw the Phoenix make their first visit to Telford to take on the supporter owned Telford Tigers. This was a game many Phoenix fan;s, myself included, had looked forward to for some time. There is some sort of mutual respect for each other born out of each club's history. The Tigers taking time out from the support and being rescued by their fans. Some of you may recall top flight hockey in Manchester had gone down a similar path. When the Storm went bust the supporters stepped in to return a team to top flight hockey in the MEN Arena, only for the decision to be made to mothball the team for two years. So supporter support figures greatly for both teams. This game was a prime example of how social media can also help the game, with both sets of supporters using Forum's, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the game. The Tigers usually enjoy crowds of 3-400 in the 700 seat Telford Ice Rink, but with the Phoenix bringing an estimated 120 plus fans, and more Tigers fans expected to turn up this was going to be a big night for the new look Tigers.

First Period: The Tigers were really up for this, their first game against the league leading Phoenix, both fans in good voice created a real party atmosphere in the Ice Rink. It was the Phoenix who scored first to silence the home support, after just 36 seconds! Greg Wood scoring the first of a few for the emerging second line unit. Despite the early goal the Tigers would not let the Phoenix settle, and their pressure would disrupt the Phoenix play in the Tigers zone leading to too many odd man rushes for my liking! It was on one of these rushes that the Tigers tied the game, scoring through Brittle on the powerplay. This was a poor defensive display from the Phoenix on the penalty kill, allowing Brittle up to the hash marks to unleash a slap shot past Summerfield in goal. I doubt even Fone would have saved it! The Tigers continued their frenetic pace and the Phoenix kept soaking it up. While the Phoenix looked a little wobbly at the back it was obvious they had a fair few gears to go through if needed. This showed when the first and second lines combined to put the Phoenix well clear. After 8min exactly the first line clicked for the first time and Sir Tony of hand delighting both sets of supporters by scoring to put the Phoenix 2-1 ahead. Next it was James Archer's turn to score from the second line, after 14min 06sec.

Second Period: With the Tigers visibly slowing due to their first period efforts the Phoenix started to change up through the gears and exert more pressure of their own. The second line got their hatrick of goals and Stephen Wallace finally scoring after an excellent scoreless performance against the Steeldogs. Wallace making the score 4-1 after 26min 38sec. Sir Tony of Hand got his second of the night after 33min 49sec, the game now looking beyond the Tigers, the atmosphere started to drop. The last goal of the period came after 38min 40sec to Marcus Kristoffersson, this really should have been his hatrick, Marcus shooting boots looked a little off last night, but his hard work and skill remained.

Third Period: The game now won, the third period was left for the Phoenix to close out the game. Not take any silly injuries and not blow the game. The Tigers slowing up more allowed the Phoenix to ease up and enjoy the game. But the Tigers did manage to inject a little urgency and lift their supporters by scoring their second of the night after 51min 58sec through Chris Allen. Marcus Kristoffersson finally got his goal when he scored after 55min exactly. That goal capping a good weekend of hard work for the big Swede! The final goal of the night came from James Neil and capped of a brilliant 8-2 victory for the Phoenix, the final goal coming at 57min 48sec.

Verdict: In the end a convincing win for the Phoenix, but this game was never about the game! It was about the Tigers icing a team against the Phoenix, a reward for their hard working fans. A chance to really push Telford Tigers to the local community and fill the old Telford Ice Rink. A great atmosphere was enjoyed by all in attendance. The Phoenix playing well, and Adam Summerfield showing how he is close to becoming a decent starter in his own right. The Phoenix second line is really showing how valuable it is to the Phoenix by hard work and pointage. The Tigers have a hard working and skillful team, but it was obvious they could not keep up their first period pace. This seems to be an issue for the Tigers as the same happened against Sheffield the weekend before. Tom Watkins, Tigers coach, must re-look at their tactics and reign in their early efforts. Im sure the Tigers can go the full 60, but at the moment they burn out quickly!

Due to the big away support and a great turn out by the Tigers fans ensured full stands in Telford, this resulted in a few Tiger fans mixing in with the Phoenix support. Not a problem as both sets of supporters got on well and much mutual respect shown. But we did have a group of lads behind us who chose some interesting heckling during the game. Favorites of which were:

Eyore eyore at Tony Hand, the same Tony Hand, the greatest British player ever, one who had scored twice and set up on goal in the game, and a player who could walk into the Tigers squad.....
Dodgy shooter at Kristoffersson, ok he could have had about 4 goals himself last night, but again he is a player who could walk, not just into the Tigers squad, but every other squad in the EPL!

Work on your heckling lads!

Attendance: With Telford Ice Rink seating around 700 fans, I would say there must have been over 650 in the rink, and as mentioned at least 190 of them being Phoenix fans!

Shropshire Star TV Highlights:

Telford 2 Phoenix 8 - Telford Tigers Article
Telford 2 Phoenix 8 - Manchester Phoenix Article
Telford 2 Phoenix 8 - CB Sport Article

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