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!