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