The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats 27th November Game Review

A saturday night home game kicked off the weekend for the Phoenix, and a cold night at the Dome welcomed the fans and the first visit of the Swindon Wildcats to Altrincham. Despite the differing league positions the arrival of the Wildcats could not be taken lightly, as the Wildcats were the first team to take points from the Phoenix this season. Encouragingly for the home fan's the past couple of games had seen an improvement in form from the Phoenix.

First Period: The Phoenix began brightly and were keep to show they could deal with a potentially difficult Swindon team. Early pressure was applied but the Phoenix found James Hadfield in goal on fine form. In fact had it not been for Hadfield it could have been a cricket score. Even so the Phoenix had to wait until 6min 07sec before their first goal was scored. Marcus Kristoffersson scored a superb shorthanded goal to get the ball rolling. The Phoenix piled on the pressure and Curtis Huppe broke his dry spell at 17min 17sec getting his first of the night. Before the first period was done James Archer would score his first of the night and a superb solo goal it was. Coming 90sec before the end of the period at 18min 31sec. Steve Fone even got in on that goal with an assist!

Second Period: With Swindon visibly giving up the Phoenix really turned the screw in the second period, and started to convert their chances more regularly. Tom Duggan capped a sting of impressive performances with a goal after 22min 42sec. A minute later Curtis Huppe got his second of the night at 23min 50sec, and then scored his well earned hatrick goal at 26min 44sec. The player's and fan's erupting with delight now the scoring machine had found his shooting boots once more. With five minutes to go in the period, the Phoenix also changed netminders, with Adam Summerfield coming on for a good workout. Swindon would show some life in the game when Josef Liska got their first, and a well worked goal at 28min 26sec. Just 13sec later Huppe got his fourth goal of the game at 28min 39sec capping an explosive period from the Phoenix, and one that crushed any hope of points for Swindon.

Third Period: With the game over as a contest the third period was a bit flat, with Swindon deflated, the Phoenix just needed to close out the game. James Archer got the first goal of the period picking up the puck in the Phoenix zone, skating the length of the ice holding off a Swindon defenceman and backhanding the puck into the goal at 49mi 13 sec. The Phoenix ninth goal came from Kristoffersson at 53min 39 sec. The first line having a great evening with a total of 17points between them. Not to be outdone the Wildcats popped a few goals past Adam Summerfield before the end of the game, Josef Liska proving to be a thorn in the Phoenix side, got his second at 56min 10sec. The final goal coming at 57min 22sec through Matt Foord.

Verdict: A potentially tricky game against a hard working Swindon Wildcats in the end turned out to be a bit easy for the Phoenix in the end. I think this was more down to the improving performance from the Phoenix. As mentioned Swindon were the first team to upset the Phoenix this season, and James Hadfield stood on his head during the game, he just didnt have much of a team in front of him. A pleasing win for the team, and fans, it was encouraging to see the Phoenix creating many chances, and putting them away with some clinical finishing.

Attendance: Saturday night games never produce a big crowd for the Phoenix, last saturday was no different, I would say around 800 in the Dome.

Phoenix 9 Swindon 3 - CB Sport Article
Phoenix 9 Swindon 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 9 Swindon 3 - Wildcats Article

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 20/21st November

As mentioned in my Tigers weekend post last week, this weekend just gone was a big one for the Tigers. A weekend double header against fellow stragglers the Bracknell Bee's. The Tigers recent run of form has many fans, myself included, wondering how they struggled early on. In fact since taking a point from the shootout loss in Altrincham, the Tigers have been playing very hard and upsetting a few expectations. Picking up valuable points along the way.

A double against the Bee's would also give them a chance of their first four point weekend of the season. But it would not be easy as the Bee's are a good side, and when Pinc and Cesky are on top form, they can be devastating.

The first game down in the hive looks to have been a tighter game than the scoreline suggests, but the fate of the game hinged on a mass brawl in the second period. By the sounds of things it involved a bench clearance and both goalies, so I hope there is some youtube footage of that out on the Internet! In the end the Tigers skated out to a 7 - 3 victory and two valuable points taken from the opposition.

All back to Telford then? Ok! The second fixture of the double header saw a larger crowd come to Telford Ice Rink, for what could be a tasty game. With the Tigers looking to get a win on home ice, and the Bees looking for revenge! It sounds like the Bees really went for it in this game, and Martin Clarckson in the Tigers goal living somewhat of a charmed life. Using his head to make a save at one point! The Bees must have wondered what they needed to do to score, after hitting the post on three occasions! Despite this the Tigers held on for a 5 - 3 victory to complete an excellent 4 point weekend. Ashley Calvert, playing against his old club picked up the man of the match award!

Telford Tigers Video Highlights:

Telford Tigers Weekend Report
Bracknell 3 Telford 7
Telford 5 Bracknell 3

So well done Telford, a great weekend for you! Next up for the Tigers are a home an away series against the Guildford Flames. I do think the Flames will be too strong for the Tigers and will do the double over Telford. However I do think the Tigers have enough to get a point, or a couple from the weekend! I hope to be proved wrong, as any points the Tigers take from Guildford will aid the Phoenix at the top of the table. So.....prove me wrong Telford!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms 22nd November Game Review

Sorry everyone for the delay in posting this game review, to be honest I completely forgot to write it yesterday! Nevermind!

The past weekend was an important one for the Phoenix, and a much talked about one throughout the league. As you good readers may well know the Phoenix have been on a bit of a poor run recently, which when you look at the run of games has not included too many losses, but the form has been poor. Opinion across most of the Phoenix support has put this down to our short bench finally catching up and taking it's toll, plus a few cheap shots really hurting the Phoenix. In fact the Phoenix had played two games without the services of Harabin after a nasty slash from Nicky Chinn.

To rectify this Tony secured the services of Andrew Sharp, a player who polarizes opinion in UK hockey. My opinions on which I have covered in a previous post!

So this weekend saw the Phoenix travel down to Guildford for a top of the table clash at the Spectrum library. Sadly for the Phoenix it was a loss, but reports from the game say the Phoenix were beaten by a better team on the day. An improved performance but still not back to our best. Andrew Sharp played well by all accounts, and served a purpose as a third line winger. So not a massive disaster as some had predicted.

Guilford 5 Phoenix 1 - CB Sport Article

Sunday nights game against the Phantoms would see the side from Peterborough make their first visit to Altrincham this season. The only previous meeting between the two sides saw the Phoenix win 6-2 in Peterborough. The game would also allow the Phoenix crowd their first glimpses of Andrew Sharp in the Phoenix jersey. So alot was riding on this game, the Phoenix had to get back to winning ways since loosing top spot to Guildford the night before. The Phoenix should win home games against Peterborough, but they have a well drilled defensive unit and a superb goalie in Stephen Wall. A win would be no easy task!

First Period: The game began with the Phoenix looking to establish themselves early in the game. The improvement in form was clear to see, not back to our best, but much better than recent games have shown. The Phoenix were playing hard and creating chances. However they did look a little labored at times, and Peterborough were able to carve out a few odd man rushes. Thankfully Steven Fone was in top form and turned away all chances in the first period. The Phoenix would score the only goal of the period after 12min 57sec. Tom Duggan was rewarded for a couple of real hard working shift's when he picked up the puck behind the goal for a quick wrap around goal. The goal was a fine reward for the third line who had put in some hard work on their shifts. Andrew Sharp showing some great positioning on the ice, and was unlucky himself when he got a sight of goal. In fact had Tom not scored, Andrew would have!

Second Period: The start of the second period would see a quick exchange of goals. The Phoenix were not able to hold onto their lead for long, as Peterborough scored just 46sec into the period. Maris Ziedins scoring through the five hold to bring Peterborough level. Then after 32min exactly, as so often he does, Tony took the game by the scruff of the next and thought 'enough is enough' and scored a superb goal assisted by Kristoffersson. Phoenix looked to then press home the advantage when Tony scored again just 31sec later at 32min 31sec. Peterborough then scored to keep themselves in contention roughly a minute later at 34min 20sec through Joe Miller. A hectic opening 5 minutes there saw the Phoenix 3-2 up. The rest of the period calmed down and the pattern of play continued much like the first. With the Phoenix creating the majority of the chances, while limiting Peterborough to a few odd man rushes.

Third Period: The third period was not quite as intense as the previous two as both teams cancelled each other out. The only goal of the game came towards the end of the game after 57min 08sec when Kristoffersson scored his only goal of the game. I cant think of anything else of note that happened during the third period, the Phoenix continued to play well but not their best!

Verdict: So the much talked about debut of Andrew Sharp happened, and I know it is only one game at home, but I think alot of people have been proved wrong. The lad can skate, and he has a good hockey brain. Obviously that is said after just one game. It will be better to take stock after christmas to decide if he is a liability or an asset! As for the Phoenix, it was a welcome return to some form, not back to our early season blistering hockey, but a continued step in the right direction! Peterborough are a tough team to beat, ive always thought you have to get a goal past Stephen Wall quickly, otherwise he can become unbeatable!

Attendance: Not the biggest crowd of the season, but recent results may have had an effect. Still, there was probably around 850 in the Ice Dome.

Next up for the Phoenix is a rare saturday home game to the Swindon Wildcats and an away trip to Sheffield. The Angry Budgie will be in attendance at both games. So next week should see both home and away games reviewed. Its an ideal weekend for the Phoenix to continue their improvement. So fingers crossed!

Phoenix 4 - Peterborough 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 - Peterborough 2 - CB Sport Article
CB Sport Interview with Andrew Sharp

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Inside the M60

This post has been a little while in the making!
A month or so ago James Gordon (, a fellow Phoenix fan asked me to put some thoughts down regarding watching hockey in Manchester. From the days of the sold out arena's to the Phoenix now resting in Altrincham. Plus my thoughts as to where those fans have gone and what can be done to bring them back. Now this was alot of fun for me as it enable me to think back through my years of watching hockey, and the highs and lows of supporting ice hockey in and around Manchester.

James contributes to a website called: Inside the M60 and my comments were to form the basis of the article. Anyway the article is now live on the site and here is the link, Out of the storm comes a Phoenix.

So have a read, and all the other Phoenix articles on the site and let me know your thoughts!

The second part of today's post was to do with the layout of this blog. As you can see the style has changed, and there is a background picture. I remember when I started this blog I wanted to get a picture of the Ice Dome with a full crowd to use as the backdrop to the blog. The picture you see behind these words was taken by Lauren Freeman who takes so, frankly, excellent pictures of the Phoenix at the Ice Dome. She can be followed on twitter at: and he pictures can be found on flickr at, Cold as Ice.

So many thanks and copyright to Lauren for the background picture! It may stay, or a new one may take its place! We will see!

Finally, there may be a new blog for you all to follow. I'll tweet/post a link if it gets set up!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 13/14th November

So a day late but I have finally got round to looking at the Tigers performance last weekend. A real weekend of two halves, saturday saw the Tigers travel to Slough and then entertain the Swindon Wildcats at Telford Ice Rink on sunday. I don't think many fans out there thought the Tigers would take anything from the hangar and, sadly, they didn't coming away with a 6-1 loss. Even so it sounds like the Tigers played hard and kept it a close game for the majority, only being down 3-1 going into the final session. The damage was done during a period of mistakes from Telford, and Slough were able to capitalize. Against the top sides Telford need to make sure they don't make mistakes as they will get punished.

Anyway, for the Tigers, sunday was really going to offer the best chance of getting some points from the weekend, as they welcomed the Swindon Wildcats to Telford. I believe the Tigers first win of the season also came against Swindon. With the return of Ashley Calvert to the line up the Tigers were revved up from the first puck drop. A better defensive display from the Tigers and Martin in goal standing on his head gave a good base for the Tigers to work from. It showed to, going ahead and never loosing the lead the Tigers closed out an excellent 4-2 win.

Shropshire Star Highlights:

Telford Tigers weekend reports.

With the OT loss point picked up in Manchester and this win picked up last weekend the Tigers are building some nice momentum here. This weekend coming offers a great opportunity to keep that roll going. The Tigers have a home/away set with the Bracknell Bees. The Tigers have an opportunity to skate away with a 4 point weekend here, for me a great weekend for the Tigers would be a point from the away game and a home win. It's weekends like these that give Telford the chance to open up a little room between the bottom few clubs in search of that playoff berth. If the Tigers play hard again I can see a 4 point weekend happening, at worst both clubs will split the series.

So good luck Telford, this is a great opportunity for you!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Andrew Sharp lands in Altrincham

So this week I wanted to post my Telford weekend review and a post on a couple of links. Today's news has, however, taken over somewhat. The Manchester Phoenix have signed Andrew Sharp! Shortwaves have fanned out through UK hockey, and fans across the country have wade into the debate. Mostly negative I get the impression!

The general feeling is, how could Tony Hand, the greatest British hockey player to have skated the ice, sign such a knuckle dragger. Personally I would say, if there is one person who could tempt a hockey player out of is Tony Hand. I fear hockey fans, including the majority of the Phoenix support are forgetting what Tony has done with Clouthier and Payette in previous seasons. I want to make it clear that I am now Andrew Sharp appreciation society, im willing to give the guy a chance to prove himself in a Phoenix shirt. Im just surprised by the level of hatred (yes I went there) this signing has provoked. I know he is no angel, but seriously, he's not played a minute on the ice for the Phoenix yet! He could be crap, but he could be exactly what we need! Why not give him a few games before deciding on him.

The signing has prompted alot of chat on twitter/forums from opposing EPL teams, all of which is negative and going along the lines of, he is a goon and can't skate or do anything. If he is a goon, he is as much of a goon as the Greener brothers, Nicky Chinn, Mr Wiggins, Ryan or Nicky Watt.

For me Richard Allen on the Phoenix forum summed it up perfectly for me:

'When we signed Brett Clouthier we were signing a player who'd been let go by the Steelers who was being looked into for an alleged 'eye gouging' incident and was know for being something of a 'knuckle-dragger', and he went on to become a Phoenix legend who is much loved by the fan base.

When we signed Andre Payette we were signing a player who was routinely booed by the opposition, branded as nothing more than a 'donkey', and he went on to become a Phoenix legend who is much loved by the fan base.

We've now signed Andrew Sharp, a played whose reputation has preceded him to the tune of seventeen pages on the forum, and whose actions in a Phoenix jersey will decide how the fan base responds to him'

Apart from Payette probably being a fan favorite rather than a legend, I agree with Richard there, Tony has proved he can handle a player with a reputation, and he would not have signed Andrew without thinking it through fully. On that basis im willing to trust in Tony/Neil and give Andrew the benefit of the doubt. I will reserve judgement until I have seen him play a few games. I would strongly urge my fellow Phoenix fan's to do the same! Facebook pages have been set up in protest and for those of you who are thinking about not attending games as a result of this signing.....are you serious? One player on a squad of 17 is making you think about not attending another Phoenix game....? Overreaction much?

Though I will admit, his picture on the official Phoenix article does make him look like a bit of a lunatic!

One thing is for certain, its a polarising signing and one that has created so much talk about the Phoenix and hockey in the UK. This weekend, and especially sunday's game, has to be one of the most anticipated weekends in a while!

Announcement from the official Phoenix site

Monday, 15 November 2010

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 14th November Game Review

Not the usual game review for The Angry Budgie this week, the main reason being, I was not at the Phoenix v Basingstoke game sunday night! My girlfriend's sister gave birth sunday morning to a baby girl, so sunday evening was not spent at the cold Altrincham Ice Dome, but a much warmer Macclesfield General Hospital greeting the new arrival!

The weekend was a tough one for the Phoenix with a home and away series against the Bison, I always look to these games as a good indicator for the Phoenix. The Bison being a fellow ex-EIHL club always give the Phoenix a tough ride. On saturday away in Basingstoke the Phoenix went down 4-1 despite scoring first. From most accounts it was an improved performance, as opposed to that the previous weekend against Telford, the Phoenix just came up against a very determined Basingstoke team. What has caught my attention was a deliberate cheap shot on Harabin from Nicky Chinn. My Chinn is a feisty player, but one who has always indulged in unsportsmanlike behavior, which is a shame as he doesn't need to! Reading through the hockey forum there are defiantly two camps of thought, one are Bison fan;s thinking Harabin made a meal of it, and the other are Bison and Phoenix fan's saying Chinn got away with murder. Particularly as Mr Chinn was seen waiting for the ref's head to turn before hacking down Harabin. Having seen Ladislav play this season, and read all the reports on what type of player he is, I do not believe he made a meal of it!

Bison TV highlights:

Basingstoke Bison 4 - Phoenix 1 - Bison Article
Basingstoke Bison 4 - Phoenix 1 - CB Sport Article

Anyway a loss away to the Bison is not so bad, as they are a tough team, and the Basingtsoke rink is not an easy place to get a result! But at home in Altrincham it would be different right? Nope! With Ladsilav out for 2 weeks, a 5am arrival back home the Phoenix went down again, this time loosing 3-2 in overtime. Another improved performance, but two mistakes cost us the win. Loosing concentration with a minute to go in regulation allowed the Bison to force OT, scoring shorthanded, which is never acceptable in my book. Then a collective D fail following a ding off the post allowed the Bison to race up the ice and take the win.

I cant really comment much on the game, as mentioned previously I was not there, but it is interesting to see some reactions on the Phoenix forum. Some members declaring panic and changes must be made. This is surprising to me, as the Phoenix have only lost 4 games all season, two of those losses yielding a point each. Added to that despite one loss to Swindon all our losses have been against the better teams in the EPL, in Basingtsoke and Guildford. I know loosing to your rivals is not great, but better lose to them than to a team you should beat every game? Plus, lets look at the series against the top sides:

Basingstoke Bison, Won 2 Lost 2 (one in OT)
Guildford Flames, Won 1 Lost 1
Slough Jets, Won 2 Lost 0
Milton Keynes, Won 2 Lost 0

To me that is a very impressive record so far!

Yes the Phoenix have lost a few recently, but at least this seasons squad is able to get something from a loss! Plus im sure the guys and Tony themselves know they need to get back to winning ways!

Phoenix 2 - Bison 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 2 - Bison 3 - CB Sport Article

Next weekend sees the Phoenix play the Flames away in Guildford before welcoming the Phantoms to the Ice Dome. I'll take a point from the away game in Guildford and the hope that the calibre of opposition will spark something in the Phoenix to return to form. The Peterborough game will be tough, but one I think we should win on home ice!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 6/7th November

So sorry everyone for the lateness of this post! But have now finally got round to putting a few thoughts down about the Telford Tigers last weekend of games. This covers their home game against the Peterborough Phantoms and an away game to the Manchester Phoenix.

The Tigers first game of the weekend saw the Phantoms come to town, and a game the Tigers should expect to pick up points, especially at home. With a new player in the ranks too, by all accounts the Tigers more than acquitted themselves. Despite loosing in an epic goal fest 11-6 many Tiger fans seem to be happy with the progress made. Much more fighting spirt and team togetherness shown during the game points to a much brighter future. This could have come at a great time as the Tigers then head up the M6 and M56 to Altrincham. In a game many fans, including myself, did not give them a hope of a win.

That game sunday night will have shocked the league, the Tigers pushed the Phoenix all the way to Overtime and penalties. The Tigers played a blinder, they frustrated the Phoenix and Declan Ryan in net played an absolute stormer of a game. The Tigers were helped, I must say, by possibly the worst performance by the Phoenix all season! We looked out of sorts, the shooting boots were off, passing was not as sharp and the Phoenix were wasteful around the goal. I firmly believe if the Phoenix had found any gear higher than first we would have blown the Tigers off the ice. But the Tigers did not let that happen. It was a brilliant road game from Tom Watkins and his men. I firmly believe if the Tigers play the rest of the season like they did sunday night against the Phoenix, they will make the playoffs.

Im glad the Tigers picked up a point, and I must admit to getting very nervous that the Telford boys could have left Altrincham with both points!

So many things to build on for Telford, though im sure they would have liked to have got some points out of Peterborough in front of their own supporters.

Shropshire Star Highlights:

Telford Tigers Weekend Preview
Telford Tigers Match Reports

Telford have also welcomed a new face back to the Tigers line up in young forward Ashley Calvert, quickly signed after being released by the Bracknell Bees.

This weekend the Tigers face the Slough Jets at the hangar and the Swindon Wildcats at Telford Ice Rink. It will be tough, but not impossible to get something from the inconsistent Jets. But for me the Tigers need to be picking up the win against the Wildcats at home on sunday!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Phoenix v Telford Tigers 7th November Game Review

The Phoenix had secured a win in Bracknell saturday night, so it was back to Altrincham to entertain the Telford Tigers. A large group, of say 30 Telford fans made the trip north, the home fans expecting a win and another 4 point weekend would be surprised, the puck dropped 15minutes late and battle commenced. Adam Summerfield started the game in-between the pipes for the Phoenix.

First Period: The game began at the usual fast pace we have come to expect in the Ice Dome, however tonight, something was different. This Tigers team was a completely different....err.....animal! They prevented the Phoenix settling into their usual rhythm and kept the shooting lanes close forcing the Phoenix to play down the boards. While Adam Summerfield was turning all shots away, so was the excellent Declan Ryan in the Tigers net. As the period progressed, nerves crept into the crowd as the home fans became frustrated and worried no goals had been scored. Despite pressurizing throughout the period the Phoenix just could not score, not helped by their poor performance.

Second Period: The second 20mins began much like the first! The Phoenix would have long spells of pressure, coming up against Ryan standing on his head, while Telford had the odd breakaway to worry the Phoenix fans. Even so the first goal of the game did come in the second period, Curtis Huppe scoring after 26min 21sec on a 4 on 4 situation. The sense of relief around the Dome was huge, so imagine the disappointment when Telford equilised just 41seconds later! Again on a 4 on 4 situation Andy McKinney came back and scored the Tigers first, sending the away fans delirious with joy. The Phoenix would go into the break ahead, however, when Ben Morgan scored a superb solo effort on the powerplay at 28min 11sec. The Phoenix finally clicked and started to accelerate, Marcus Kristoffersson would finally get his goal on the powerplay after 30min 48sec. The Phoenix would make it 4-1 after 38min 13sec when Ladislav Harabin got his rewards for some excellent work scoring even handed after 38min 13sec. Just to make sure Phoenix fans could not settle for the final period the Tigers would score 40sec later when Tom Watkins lead by example to score. The latter 10mins of the period were a much improved performance from the Phoenix, hopefully this would continue in the third!

Third Period: The third carried on when the second left off, with the Phoenix peppering Ryan in the Telford net, and yet, much like the rest of the game, finding him a more than equal opponent. Then with 5mins to go things started to go wrong for the Phoenix. With how poorly the Phoenix were playing, we should have seen this coming. While shorthanded the excellent Marek Hornak raced up the ice, on his second breakout attempt and scored, 4-3 after 55min 45sec. In to the final two minutes the Tigers call a time out, the home fans expecting their team to hang on for the win, the Tigers fans sensing OT and a point at least. In a proper movie style ending the Tigers would tie the game at 58min 48sec through Scott McKenzie. The last 78sec saw the Phoenix try and pressure for the win, but in the end the Tigers deserved to force the game into OT.

Overtime: In the story of the game the Phoenix piled on the pressure, creating great chances, but the Phoenix forwards just unable to score. The crowd were really on edge as penalty shots approached, as either team could take the extra point irrespective of who deserved the win over the previous 65mins.

Penalty Shots: The Phoenix decided to put Steve Fone in for the shootout, which created some interesting comments on the Phoenix forum, more on that later. The game went down to the shootout, and at least three rounds of penalty shots before the Phoenix emerged winners and claimed the extra point. My only stand out memory was Stephen Wallace, he scored two very nice penalty shots.

Verdict: Some have argued that selecting your back up netminder, showed a) disrespect to your opponent and b) you underestimating your opponent. Personally, you have two goalies at your disposal so have every right to start who you want! Adam once again showed he is a very capable keeper, and is showing more confidence out on the ice. As for underestimating the opposition, I think the Phoenix did that massively. I think we had the mindset that we had won the game before we even got on the ice. Also this Telford team is defiantly not the one sitting at the foot of the table, they worked hard, created chances, disrupted the Phoenix play, and fully deserved their point. Tony must now work to ensure this doesn't happen again, the Phoenix came very close to a Romford type result from last season. No team can be treated lightly! I have to give credit to the Tigers, they played well, but the Phoenix also missed a hell uva lot of chances. Realistically if our shooting boots were sharp we could have been out of sight after the first period. But a combination of excellent goal keeping and sloppy play in front of net made the game harder than it should! There has also been alot of comment on the Phoenix changing to Fone for the start of the penalty shootout, mainly on the Phoenix forum. My take is, Tony made the right choice! Summers has said himself that Fone is better at the penalty shoot out than him, plus Fone is the more experienced keeper. There is no disrespect to Adam, he will get there but he is not an experienced starting keeper. The Phoenix are in this game to win, so why not play your best keeper in that situation?

Anyway the Phoenix got the win, I do not think the Phoenix will take Telford lightly again! It wasn't a pretty win, but as everyone always says about championship winning teams, they are able to grind out the ugly wins!

Attendance: I'd say around 1,000 in the Dome, helped by one of the biggest away turn outs seen at the Dome this season!

Phoenix 5 Telford 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Telford 4 - CB Sport Article

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Telford Tigers weekend 31st October

Just the one game for the Tigers last weekend, following on from the tough loss to the Phoenix, the Tigers had the not so difficult task of overcoming the MK Lightning at Telford Ice Rink. Preparations for the game were not helped by the Tigers loosing Andrejs Maslovskis to an eye infection, Ash Stanton still out injured and the release of Chris Allen, left the Tigers with just five defense men and eight forwards. MK are a fast and skillful team, so not an opposition you want to be short benched against! Even so the Tigers have the determination to overcome such problems, and it would need them to be at their absolute best to get something out of the game.

Sadly the Lightning ran our 6-2 winners, the Tigers were just not able to pressure the Lightning all over the ice, the short bench will have taken its toll too! The task made harder when Joe Henry picked up a niggle during the second period. Opinion's from the fan's seem, mostly, to agree it was a hard working performance, but just came up against a well organised and settled MK Lightning. I certainly agree with 'shrek' the Tigers need to be looking to games against the Steeldogs/Bees and Wildcats to be picking up the points on a regular basis. I do think they have the squad to upset some of the bigger clubs too!

This weekend see's the Tigers host the Peterborough Phantoms at Telford Ice Rink saturday night, this is a winnable game, but the Tigers need to get bodies back to full health and concentrate on ironing out any mistakes and pressurising the full ice for the full 60 minutes. The Tigers then travel to Altrincham for their fist away game against the Manchester Phoenix. Most would not see much other than a Phoenix win in this game, myself included, but you never know! The Phoenix do make mistakes!

For those Tiger fan's making the trip up to Altrincham why not join us on the Phoenix podcast and talk a load of rubbish like we do!

Shropshire Star Highlights:

Tigers 2 - Milton Keynes 6 - Tigers Article

Monday, 1 November 2010

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 31st October Game Review

The weekend just gone was possibly the toughest the Phoenix have faced so far this season. A home and away set against the Guildford Flames. First points would be heading back with the Phoenix from the Spectrum thanks to a 3-1 victory.

The Phoenix moving 5 points clear and having the opportunity to go 7 clear with a win on home ice. The omens were not great when the team bus broke down just off the M40 heading for Altrincham, forcing the boys to spend a good 3 hours on the roadside awaiting recovery. Even so a large crowd turned up sunday evening to watch the (current) two best clubs in the EPL do battle.

First Period: The early billing looked to be justified as both clubs went at it from the off! The game was played at such a pace, that I worried a little about the Phoenix keeping the pace up given they only arrived back into Altrincham at 5am that morning. Even so both clubs created chance after chance and both goalies forced into early saves. It was interesting to see how much the games between the two clubs meant to Tom Duggan and Joe Graham, having swapped clubs over the summer. Both players really playing hard. With the all the action during the period it was a little surprising that only one goal separated the sides after the first 20 minutes. Marcus Kristoffersson scoring in the fourth minute to ignite the Dome.

Second Period: Unfortunately it was the second period that undid the Phoenix. In a sign of how tight the game was, it took three mistakes for the Flames to effectively win the game. In a little over three minutes the Flames leapt to a 3-1 lead. Two defensive mistakes and a Flames playing returning to the ice after a penalty giving the Flames an instant 2 on 1 hurt the Phoenix badly. The game tying goal came after 27min 50sec to Nathan Rempell, the Flames second coming at 30min 15sec through Ben Campbell and the Flames third coming after 31min 09sec. There was plenty of shock and disbelief in the stands as Phoenix fan's wondered how their team had gone from a position of strength to being, effectively, out the game so quickly. As often in these situations Sir Tony of Hand will take it upon himself to set things right. Last night was no different. The Phoenix needed a goal before the break badly, 3-2 in the final 20minutes is a big change in prospects from a 3-1 deficit.Tony scored after 32min 28sec when a break out with Kristoffersson allowed Tony to deak Hala and hold out long enough for the big man to drop to the floor an allow a bit of space for Tony to score.

Third Period: The last 20 kept on at the same pace as the previous two, but will be remembered for one thing. Before we get to that, it was important for the Phoenix to get the next goal. The Flames had other idea's! Coming back to haunt the Phoenix, much like Tom Duggan did the other night, Joe Graham saw Paul Dixon emerging from the penalty box who took the puck up the ice to score, extending the Flames lead to 4-2. Game over! Or was it? After 53min 51sec the Phoenix scored their third goal. This goal has set the forum's alight, after Phoenix pressure Tom Duggan took the puck to the side of the Flames goal and lifted it over Hala into the net. Hala goes mental at this point insisting the net was off its moorings, what followed was a heated on-ice debate with Hala and Longstaff showing some pretty unsportsmanlike behavior. In the end the goal was given and the Phoenix had about 8 minutes to find an equalizer. The debate has been, should the goal have stood or not? According to the rule's, if a goalie who deliberately pushes the net from its moorings then he gives away a penalty shot. I have also seen, quoting Tambo from the Phoenix forum, a referee has the discretion to award a goal if the puck was clearly going into the goal when the goal was kicked from its moorings. Now I will never claim to know the EPL rulebook, or weather the referee got it right or wrong. In my opinion (warning Phoenix tinted specs firmly in place) the goal stands. I absolutely hate it when goalies deliberately dislodge goals, pure cheating, no two ways about it! Hala certainly didn't endear himself to the crowd when a few moments later, after stopping the puck, falling to the floor like he'd been shot by a sniper, and hurling his blocker 6 foot into the air and then getting up as if nothing had happened. All I would say is this, coupled with the 'goal incident', Hala mate, Karma's a bitch!

Anyway not alot else happened in the period really, the Phoenix kept up the pressure but just couldn't find their fourth goal, so it ended 4-3 to the Flames and both sides sharing two points a piece leaving things as they were at the top of the table.

Verdict: An opportunity missed for the Phoenix, im not making excuses but the clubs return from Guildford did not help things. In reality the second period cost us the game, too many mistakes were made and, while you can get away with them against the Tigers/Steeldog's/Bees etc....against the Flames, you wont! Plus the Phoenix were wasteful in front of goal, there were at least 3 or 4 clear scoring opportunities that went begging. I certainly thought the Phoenix deserved a point out of the game and wouldn't have begrudged the Flames an OT win. In the end it was a win apiece for both clubs, but im sure both would have preferred home wins! Must make a quick shout out to Paddy from A View from the Bridge, and British Ice Hockey blog....fame for some humorous banter regarding that 'goal'. Why not follow him on twitter too @patricksmyth, top fella and am chuffed to get to know the guy better!

Attendance: Given that our previous biggest crowd was just over 1,100 against MK, I would say last nights crowd must have been touching 1,200.

Phoenix 3 Guildford 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Guildford 4 - CB Sport Article