The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 19th December Game Review

The Phoenix away game to the Milton Keynes Lightning saturday night was called off due to adverse weather conditions. According the MK this was due to the Phoenix not being able to make it to Milton Keynes. Given the Phoenix were already an hour and a half into their journey I dont believe that much! Anyway, it probably was too dangerous to play, as the Milton Keynes area had been badly hit by snow!

With the south east being badly hit doubts were raised about the Phoenix home fixture against the Slough Jets sunday. In fact the game was called off sunday morning, but interestingly the Phoenix press release mentioned a possible game going ahead anyway. Step forward the Sheffield Steeldogs. So a big mention has to go out to them for stepping forward to play the fixture. Win win on both counts for the Phoenix. The club get to make some money from a home fixture, and both the Phoenix/Sheffield get to play out a game that would, otherwise have to be re-arranged towards the end of the season.

So onto sunday nights game, i'll apologise if my review is a bit naff, due to Heathrow being up the creek its been mad busy at work!

First Period: With the introduction of Andre Payette to the Steeldogs roster there was an added level of spice to this game. Would Sharpie and Payette fight? well yes probably, when would they? Some hockey was played and the Phoenix dominated the play, but worryingly gave away a couple odd man rushes which, had Fone not been on form, would have seen the Steeldogs go 2-0 up! Thankfully Fone was in top form and kept the scores 0-0. Phoenix would take the lead after 6min 50sec when Kristoffersson put the puck past the Steeldogs goalie. Who's name, I must admit, escapes me right now! Ben Bowns was away on GB duty, and by all accounts performing brilliantly! The Phoenix made it 2-0 under a minute later when Greg Wood got a deserved goal at 7min 27sec. The first line clicked again at 9min 01sec when Curtis Huppe scored his first of the night. The first period did not have to wait too long before Payette and Sharp lined each other up. After a few minutes of goonage from Payette, including him trying to go with Tony Hand, Sharp and Payette got to it in front of the Phoenix bench. I'd like to say Sharp won, but Payette's extra size I think gave him the edge in the fight! It wouldn't be the last time, not just in the game, but in the period for these two! around the 17min mark Payette was holding Tony and chatting, almost trying to get him to go for a fight. Sensibly Tony got off the ice and sent on Sharpie. Sadly, and disappointingly, Payette took one punch from Sharp and turtled it! Never thought i'd see Payette wimp out from a fight! From the resulting penalties Payette would loose his head and abuse the official this would earn him a 10min+game+match penalty! He absolutely lost it! This highlights one of the best reason's for having Sharpie on the squad. He is a Brit, Payette an import. Even if Sharpie had been ejected from the game, the Phoenix would have only lost a Brit, rather than one of the few valuable imports on a roster! Anyway, I think iv'e rambled on enough about the first period!

Second Period: Carried on much like the first, in terms of play! The game was effectively over in the first 5 minutes of the second period. The Phoenix raced to a 6-0 lead with goals from Huppe, on 23min 07sec. Harabin on the powerplay at 24min 08sec. And Archer on 24min 29sec. Huppe's goal to make it a 4-0 lead was a peach! After a lovely lobbed pass from the defence, Tony/Curtis and Marcus were clean through on the Sheffield goal. For once a neat pass exchange in front of goal lead to a goal. A real highlights real effort too! The final goal of the period and game would come at 31min 30sec when Stephen Wallace scored against his old club. As is a trait of Tony Hand teams, when games get to this position he really wants to ease up and not embarrass the opposition. It was clearly visible the Phoenix slowed their play, in fact they would have been at a standstill had they gone any slower! Adam Summefield also came on the see out the rest of the game towards the end of the second period.

Third Period: To be honest my memory of the third period is lacking! That could be due to being busy at work over the past few days, or it could be that nothing happened!! All I can remember is that the ref began to call some interesting penalties! Now I can never criticise a ref, as I cant do the job, but crikey, there were some shockers!

Verdict: In the end a routine win against an understrength Steeldogs squad. Loosing Ben Bowns affected them badly as he really is a quality goalie. I'd say after the Phoenix went 3-0 up the game wasn't the best to watch. Sheffield didn't not give up, but lacked the quality to make a difference on the scoreboard. I was dissapointed to see Payette return to goon status after becoming a decent player at the Phoenix. It's obvious the effect Tony had on him! The Steeldogs big import defence man Grundmanis also seemed to like picking on the Phoenix two smallest players in Greg Wood and Tom Duggan. To be honest I bet both could hold their own in a fight!

Attendance: December is never a great month for attendances however I would say around 800 hardy souls made the trip!

Phoenix 7 Sheffield 0 - The Bolton News
Phoenix 7 Sheffield 0 - CB Sport Article

Friday, 17 December 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 11/12th December

So last weekend was a northern road trip for the Tigers, taking in two away games against the Sheffield Steeldogs and the Manchester Phoenix. This would be a testing weekend for the Tigers as they were up against their rivals in the league in Sheffield. Plus this would be a Steeldog's team bolstered by the big Canadian Andre Payette. Payette has proved he can play some hockey, as he did for the Phoenix last season. But he has also proved he can look after and mentor the young Brits on the squad, and, in Sheffield young British talent is something they have in abundance. Then the Tigers would come to Altrincham to play the Phoenix. Last time the two sides met in Altrincham the Tigers took it to penalty shots. This was after the Phoenix massively underestimated them. Would it happen a second time, or would the real Phoenix turn up?

Saturday, south Yorkshire, the Tigers arrived at Ice Sheffield for a big game. As I have mentioned in many a previous post, if the Tigers have real playoff aspirations these are the games they need to be winning. The Tigers task has been made tougher as they have lost a number of guys to GB duty. Including the influential Ashley Calvert. This is the guy who has come into the squad recently and lit up the score sheets. The Tigers made a promising start but, as in many sports, a missed penalty shot swung momentum. The Steeldogs had forced a 3-2 lead by the time Maslovski's had the one-on-one chance. He missed, and the momentum stayed with the Steeldogs. In the closing moments it appears cool heads were not kept on the Tigers bench, coach Tom Watkins earning himself a game misconduct penalty. Being a goal down, without their coach, and on the penalty kill, the Steeldogs were able to keep their lead and even score an empty net goal. Steeldosg taking the two points with a 6-4 victory.

Minus their GB internationals, and now minus their influential player coach, a severely depleted Tigers squad arrived in Altrincham hoping to repeat their penalty shot heroics of last time. One thing you can guarantee with the Tigers, is they will work hard for the full 60 minutes and not let their heads drop. However with the shortened bench, and the Phoenix not taking them lightly this time, it was really only a matter of time before the Phoenix started scoring and shutting the game down. With the Phoenix going 5-1 up after the first period the result was a given, it would be down to how long the Tigers could keep going, and how much Tony asked the team to ease up. In the end the Phoenix won 9-2, not a surprising result given all the factors considered. Another mention for Andrew Sharp who continued his point scoring streak with another goal sunday night. It was going to be a tough game for the Tigers but, even with a full strength side I still think the Phoenix would have won.

A tough weekend for the Tigers, and no points gained, so chalk this one off and move forward. Hopefully the GB lad's will be back and with Tom Watkins back on the ice the Tigers should be back to winning way's soon. Another big weekend for the Tigers. They have an away game to the Swindon Wildcats and a home game versus the Guildford Flames!

The Tigers currently hold a 2-1 series lead against the Wildcats, however the game they lost, was the last away trip to the link center. It is still a winnable game for the Tigers but they must keep their heads up and get a few early goals in. In their series against the Flames the Tigers are 2-1 down. However the Tigers have a win and an overtime point from the Flames, so back on their own ice, this is also a winnable game! Looking at the extremes, this coming weekend really could be an all or nothing weekend for the Tigers!

Tigers Weekend Report

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Phoenix v Telford Tigers 12th December Game Review

Sunday's game was the second of the home weekend double header which saw the Phoenix welcome the Telford Tigers to Altrincham. An easy win for the Phoenix you would say? Not if the last visit of the Tigers to Altrincham was anything to go by! This is the same Telford side who pushed the Phoenix to penalties! So a win was not a forgone conclusion! However a number of things would not help the Tigers in this game. Much like the Phoenix last season, the Tigers had lost 3 players to GB duty including the influential Ashley Calvert. Plus, the Tigers had their player coach Tom Watkins ejected from their game against the Steeldogs the night before. Making a short bench even shorter, in fact the Tigers iced with just 14 players, and 12 skaters. The Phoenix would have to cut out the mistakes and play Telford hard, make them work so they tire towards the end of the game. The worry for Phoenix fans....after last nights epic battle against the Flames, would this game be a let down?

First Period: The opening twenty minutes put paid to any worries that the Phoenix would take the Tigers lightly! Constant pressure saw Declan Ryan working his behind off, and keeping his Tigers team in the game. Even so the amount of pressure being applied took its toll and by the end of the period the Phoenix were 5-1 up! The extra respect given, meant the Phoenix were being ruthless around the net. The first goal came after 7min 18sec when Curtis Huppe opened his account. The Tigers tied the game at 9min 02sec when Josh Bruce skated in to score, after a defensive lapse allowed him ample time on the back post to score. After 14min 30sec Tom Duggan scored, I was really chuffed he scored as Tom has been putting in some great performances in recent games. Ben Morgan made it 3 goals to 0 after 15min 36sec when he combined with Archer to score. Goal number 4 came at 16min 48sec when the Phoenix scored on a powerplay! Yes you read that right! Marcus Kristoffersson scoring, I was again pleased for him. As during the Guldford game and this first period, he had so many chances but kept finding a goalies pad or a post! The last goal of the period came to Stephen Wallace, scoring after 18min 51sec Wally rounded the net to slot the puck home.

Second Period: You would think this game was over even at this early stage. In some respect's it was, the Tigers were beginning to show the effects of the short bench, and the Phoenix D was really limiting the Tigers to long shots or scrappy efforts. With the lead at 5-1 Tony decided to give Adam Summerfield the rest of the game. Personally I was a little surprised and would have been happier seeing Adam take the whole of the third. But Adam is a quality goal keeper and deserves the opportunity! With the game all but won the Phoenix visibly eased up, I think Tony would have asked the squad not to go out and embarrass the opposition. Which Tony likes to do actually! As a result only one goal came in the period, scored by the Phoenix after 37min 01sec. Curtis Huppe getting his second of the night.

Third Period: The Tigers may have been exhausted but they did not quit. This is a characteristic of this Tigers team that they will not give up and let their heads drop. In fact the Tigers would score the first goal of the third period. At 45min 25sec Scott McKenzie would find some space and slot the puck home. Making the scores 6-2. James Archer, like Tom Duggan would score a goal and cap off a run of impressive performances for the Phoenix, Archer scoring after 50min 56sec. Furthering his reputation as a goal scoring machine, Andrew Sharp would get his 3rd goal in 3 games, and his 4th point in those games. After some scrappy play around the goal, Sharp would find himself clear on the back post as the puck squirted through to him, with a forceful shove, the puck went in! That goal coming at 52min 10sec. Prior to this Sharpie broke down the right wing and, I kid you not, showed great stickhandling and skill to deak a Telford defenceman to create a goal scoring opportunity! The final goal of the game, would also be Huppe's hatrick. In the dying seconds the puck broke to Huppe clear on the blue line, and he unleashed an absolute howitzer past Declan Ryan. Final score Phoenix 9 Telford 2.

Verdict: A combination of things lead to this scoreline I think! An impressive professional performance from the Phoenix, combined with a short Telford bench, meant it was really a matter of time before the Phoenix began to run up the scoreboard. The Tigers continue to impress with their grit and work ethic but, even with a full Tigers bench, I believe the Phoenix would have won this game by a couple. Just reward during this game for Duggan and Archer, further evidence of Sharpie's ability to play hockey and pleasing to see the points spread across the Phoenix roster. A potential banana skin avoided and a worthwhile 4 point weekend! Well done guys!

Attendance: An improvement over saturday night I would have said. So maybe around 900 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 9 Telford 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 9 Telford 2 - Tigers Article
Phoenix 9 Telford 2 - CB Sport Article

Monday, 13 December 2010

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 11th December Game Review

A rare home double header saw the Phoenix take on the Guildford Flames saturday night before welcoming the Telford Tigers to the Ice Dome sunday. The Flames came to the Ice Dome at the summit of the EPL table and holding a 2-1 series lead over the Phoenix. The last meeting between the two sides in Altrincham saw the Flames leave with a 4-3 victory becoming the first team to take regulation points from the Phoenix this season. This would be another tight game, and an absolute barn burner. With the Phoenix continuing their upwards turn in form the Phoenix would be in with a great chance of taking both points from the Flames.

First Period: Crikey it kicked off from the first puck drop, both teams going for it 100%! The Phoenix did enjoy most of the possession during the first period however their play in and around the goal was a little scrappy. Hala was in worryingly good form right from the off. You really need to get into him quick and get a goal past him to upset and get him off his game. Guilford did look very slick and smooth when in possession and the few chances they had, they did worry the Phoenix D. The only goal of the period was scored by the Guildford Flames after 4min 10sec. A mistake by the Phoenix in the offensive zone lead to a Flames 3 on 1, with Towe, Smital combining to set up Rempel for the first goal. Even going down to an early goal the Phoenix kept going and kept creating chances. Encouraging signs for the rest of the game.

Second Period: There must have been one or two home fans who wondered if this would be one of those nights for the Phoenix. Despite creating chance after chance, the Phoenix either found the post, found Hala in top form or the bounce just didnt work out. The Flames went 2-0 up after 31min 54sec, one of Ref Brown's many mistakes, a missed tripping penalty gave Guildford another odd man rush, leading to Rempel getting his second of the night. Phoenix heads did not drop and they guys kept plugging away and would finally get their reward. After an initial shot on Hala, Hala seemed to loose awareness of where the puck was only for Tony Hand to nip in and slot home the puck. The Phoenix goal coming at 33min 12sec. The talking point of the period/game came more or less at the end of the period. Kristoffersson was involved in an exchange of play with Lundin and Masa. My understanding is it went like this! Lundin tripped Kristoffersson, Kristoffersson cross-checked Masa and Masa attempted decapitation of Kristoffersson's head. I have not seen a more despicable/disgraceful act by an opposition player in the Ice Dome yet (I think!) Masa deliberately lifted his stick and attempted to hook Marcus round the neck. What did the in-effectual Mr Brown do to reward Masa? Yes, give him a two minute minor penalty! Utter disgrace! Masa should have been gone from the game with a match penalty at least! I do hope the EIHA review video evidence and ban the little ****!

Third Period: I really thought the Phoenix shifted up a gear in the third period and began to overcome the Flames. What happened next only underlines much of the guff that is spouted on many a hockey forum regarding Andrew Sharp. I firmly believe that 99% of the people condemning the signing have never seen Sharpie play a minute on the ice. The first goal of the period came 42min 08sec and yes, it was Sharpie who got it. Two goals in two games recently! After some great hard work from Greg Wood Sharp emerged with the puck to the side of Hala and put a superb backhanded shot past Hala. Well done Sharpie! The Flames re-took the lead on 51mins through Masa (who was lucky to be still on the ice). Despite the Flames taking the lead the Phoenix were still very much in the game. With 9mins to go, they had more than enough time to win this game. The Phoenix tied the game after 54min 32sec through defence man Harabin, though at times i do think he wants to be a forward! Just reward for the big guy who has put in a string of great performances! The Ice Dome erupted less than a minute later when the Phoenix took the lead, Curtis Huppe scoring the go ahead goal at 55min 44sec. The Phoenix withstood the Flames pressure for the last 5 minutes and a late penalty giving the Flames a man advantage for the last 90sec to hold on for a regulation win.

Verdict: What a game! A truly epic contest between the leagues best two squads. No fan could really have left the Ice Dome last night not having felt they had their money's worth! I really thought the Phoenix stepped up and, not only competed, but edged the Flames on the ice. They created more opportunities and stood up defensively to the Flames smooth play. A real stand out game for the Phoenix and a fully deserved win for the guys!

Attendance: As stated previously, saturday night's never produce the biggest of crowds. I would say there was a crowd of around 800 in the Ice Dome, and what an atmosphere they created! I would loved to have been outside the Ice Dome when the Phoenix scored! It would have sounded amazing!

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

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Fight Night

These pages will not often have EIHL content but recent event's in the league, I thought why the hell not!

Not sure if you will have seen but at this weeks Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers game, there was, a little altercation:

Im sure some hockey was played too!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 4/5th December

I think last time I posted about the Tigers I said their saturday game against Bracknell was an ideal opportunity for the Tigers to pick up some points, then the sunday game against the Bison would be a bit more difficult! I was nearly right!

Sadly it seemed a sickness bug would knock the stuffing out of the Tigers and prevent them paying at their best, and at a level that had brought some much needed pointage! The saturday game against the Bee's in Bracknell would still be their best opportunity for picking up a win. Despite their illness the Tigers still managed to get 2-0 by the third period. But, as I have mentioned in posts about the Phoenix playing the Bees, the Bees still have the quality to score. Saturday night was no exception, in the space of two minutes the Bees had levelled the game, sending it to OT. No further goals were scored sending the game to the penalty shootout lottery. It would be heartbreak for the Tigers again, as the Bees won the shootout for the extra point. Still a valuable point gained on the road!

Against the Bison the Tigers played hard and despite conceding the only goal of the first period, came back to tie the game in the second. The second period would see the Bison really shift through the gears and the Tigers ill health take it's toll. By the end of the session the Bison had raced to a 4-1 lead. The game finished 6-3 to the Bison, so no giant killing last sunday at the Telford Ice Rink. But given the Tigers went into the weekend not firing on all cylinders the Tigers could have been on the end of a much worse scoreline. Though I doubt many Tigers fans will agree, they would have seen that home game as a potential win.

Cant have a game without some controversy:

The Tigers now embark on a tough 3 game road trip against the Steeldog's, my Phoenix and the Wildcats. The first and last of those I see as potential win's for the Tigers. I know the Phoenix will not underestimate them like they did for the Tigers first visit to Altrincham!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 5th December Game Review

Saturday night's game in Slough was a close one for the Phoenix! Scores finished 1-1 after regulation and overtime so the extra point was decided on penalty shots. Sadly it sounds like the Phoenix attempts were poor and Slough won the shootout 2-0 giving the final score as 2-1 to Slough. While im disappointed with the loss im happy to get a point from a, usual, tough away game at the hangar. I'd certainly have taken the point if offered before hand!

Slough 2 Phoenix 1 - After Penalty Shots

Sunday nights home game against the Bees should be a simple two points for the Phoenix, but as a fair few results have shown, any team can beat any other team in this league! So a professional performance was required from the Phoenix. A hardy bunch of fans made the trip to Altrincham, braving freezing fog and a skating rink of a car park to watch the Phoenix take on the Bees.

First Period: It was clear from the early stages that the Phoenix would spend most of the time in possession of the puck and raining shots in on Marashi in the Bees net. Through a combination of excellent goaltending and less than sharp finishing the Phoenix struggled to find the first goal. Bracknell offered little in terms of offence, in fact most opportunities came from Phoenix defensive mistakes! The Phoenix third line shone early for me with both Tom Duggan and James Neil working very hard and creating a few chances. In fact I would go so far as to say, during the first period, the third was our best line. Sharp included! The eventual Phoenix first goal did come during the first twenty minutes, and it was the top line that scored it. After Tony Hand went coast to coast the first line clicked with some clinical passing around the Bees zone, Curtis Huppe putting the puck into the net after 16min 41sec. The scores ended 1-0 Phoenix.

Second Period: After scrabbling round the gear box during the first period, the second was where the Phoenix engaged gear and began to pull away. Harabin, who was on a mission in this game, showed off some lovely skill to score his first of the night five minutes into the period at 25min 39sec. By now the first line had shook off its early rustiness and really began to turn it on, Huppe scored his second of the night at 27min 04sec. even at this stage the game as a contest was over, the only variables would be: How many could the Phoenix get? Would Huppe get a hatrick? and would someone finally stand up to Andrew Sharp? No further goals came in the period despite the dominant display from the Phoenix.

Third Period: The Phoenix went through the gears in the final period and put the game to bed. Killing off the Bees attack the Phoenix were able to double their score in the last session and put the game beyond the Bees. Harabin stepped in from the wing and put a low shot on goal, which must have squeaked past Marashi's left pad into the goa. His second goal of the game coming after 44min 05sec. So far the Phoenix 4 goals all coming from the top line. Huppe's hatrick came under two minutes later. The Phoenix had the puck in the Bees zone and as the play began to break down the puck broke free at the top of the slot for Huppe, who swung his stick and buried it into the top corner. His hatrick goal coming at 46min 55sec. So, would that be the last goal of the game? Would Harabin get his hatrick? No and No to both questions! The Phoenix 6th and final goal came at 49min 04sec of the game, Harabin and Archer broke free, shorthanded, and went up the ice for Harabin to assist Archer in scoring. With the game now over, both teams played out the final 10mins with little incident.

Verdict: A potentially tricky game negotiated with ease. It was important to get the win and finish the weekend picking up three points. While the Flames also won, the Jets and Lightning faltered sunday allowing the Phoenix to open up a gap to those teams. Now the Phoenix have the dangerous Bison breathing on their necks! As for the game, as soon as the Phoenix went through the gears the game was over. The Bees have a good team, but too much talent is taken up in the first line. Once you shut Cesky and Pinc down you can deal easily with the Bees. But a win is a win, Huppe with a another hat full of goals, and Harabin with 4 points from the game. Who do you give man-of-the-match to? Hatrick Huppe? Shutout Fone? or Four point Harabin? In the end, it went to Harabin, and I doubt you would find many a Phoenix fan who would disagree. This game saw Harabin get some reward for a string of great games for the big man!

Attendance: A little disappointing for me, but I guess the cold, icy and snowy weather will have taken its toll. Plus we are now in December which is never a great month for attendances! I'd guess at maybe 7-800 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 6 Bracknell 0 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Bracknell 0 - CB Sport Article
Phoenix 6 Bracknell 0 - Bees Article

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Telford Tigers Weekend 27/28th November

If you remember from my Tigers weekend post of last week, the Tigers had a difficult pair of games against the league leading Guildford Flames. A pair of games that you would think should be a 4 pointer for the Flames. Most Tigers, and Phoenix fan's will know, the recent version of the Tigers is a much different team now. One that is much more difficult to breakdown and a hard working bunch.

Saturday night saw the Flames travel to Telford for a game, I thought, would offer the Tigers the best chance of getting some points over the weekend. In fact the Tigers made just the start they needed scoring after just 35seconds! That early goal can help to unsettle the away team and introduce some doubt in their minds. Unfortunately it didn't look like the Flames would get unsettled racing to a 3-1 lead. Game over you would have thought? The Tigers kept it close and coach Tom Watkins closed the game to within one at the 58min 12sec mark, squeaky bum time! As many a hockey fan will know, one goal needed, less than two minutes to go, the game will go one of two ways. A game tieing goal and the home rink erupts, or heartbreak! Sadly for the Tigers it was the latter, but both the team and fans can be proud they pushed the Flames all the way and gave them a fright and a half!

All back to Guildford sunday then! Re-match time! The previous nights game will have given the Tigers such a boost and reminded the Flames they are no pushovers. It sounds like another close games was had between the two sides. Trading goals the Tigers pushed the Flames all the way, in fact leading the game until the last few minutes. A point secured! But the Tigers wanted more, after pushing the Phoenix all the way to OT/Penalties and loosing, this time they wanted both points! Up stepped Tom Watkins again to score the vital goal 3 minutes into the overtime period, securing the win for the Tigers. Along the way the Tigers are gaining fan's, I know many fellow Phoenix fan's love what the Tigers are showing, and judging by comments on THF, Guildford fans are the same.

Im sure some fans are happy with 2 points from a weekend pair of games against the Flames, but im sure most will could have been 3 or 4 points! Being so close to getting the home win as well! A pair of games to be proud of for me! Let's hope the form continues, except for when the Tigers meet the Phoenix of course!

Tigers v Flames Weekend double header.

Game Winning Goal:

Next up for the Tigers is an away game to the Bees and a home game to the Bison. The Bracknell game is winnable for the Tigers and one they should if they want a playoff spot. The Bison will be a tougher nut to crack, they work very hard, are skillful and physical. Much luck to Telford this weekend then!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sheffield Steeldogs v Manchester Phoenix 28th November Game Review

Yes The Angry Budgie went on tour and braved the snowy hills of the pennines to make the trip across for Sunday night's away game to the Sheffield Steeldogs. To be fair the roads were absolutely fine! Like Swindon the night before this would not be a walkover. Especially after the Steeldogs had brought in some re-enforcements in the form of ex Hull man Kriss Grundmanis and ex Phoenix hard man Andre Payette. Sadly Payette's ITC registration was not processed in time preventing him suiting up against his ex team and teammates. So with a large away following almost outnumbering the home support, and a fair few Steeler shirts in attendance, The Angry Budgie settled down in seats up against the plexi (for the first time in years I might add!) for sunday nights EPL and Cup game against the Steeldogs.

First Period: All our games against the Steeldogs have followed the same sort of patter, with the Phoenix clearly on top but Ben Bowns constantly frustrating the Phoenix attack. This lad is a fine goaltender and one who is destined to play at a high level. He really is a credit the Sheffield set up. Sunday night's game saw him face plenty of shot's and it took the Phoenix 8min's to find a breakthrough. The Phoenix first line clicking once again, carrying on from where they left off saturday night! Tony Hand getting in on the action scoring the Phoenix first goal, assisted by Curtis Huppe. Curtis and Tony would swap roles just a minute and a half later, when Huppe scored on the powerplay at 9min 32sec. No further goals came in the second period, despite the Phoenix enjoying the vast majority of possession. It did surprise me how little the Steeldogs offered in terms of attacking effort!

Second Period: The second session picked up where the first ended, the Phoenix creating many many chances but coming up against a determined Bowns in goal. The Phoenix defence was also on its game sunday night limiting the Steeldogs to long shots and very few close in opportunities on Steve Fone, who, again, was having a cracking game. He must have been seeing the puck twice its size! The first line combined for a third time in the night scoring 11sec into the second period. This time Kristoffersson getting his name on the scoresheet. The Phoenix began to ease up and Tony even called a surprise time out half way through the period to remind the team of their responsibilities and to remain focused.

Third Period: With the lack of home support and a game pretty much decided the third was a little disappointing in terms of atmosphere. But the game continue as the previous 40mins had! Constant Phoenix pressure, even with the Phoenix visibly easing up the intensity. I cannot remember many stand out moments but the Phoenix did make it 4-0 after 53min 09sec when Stephen Wallace scored against his old club. The Phoenix closed out the game, and Steve Fone got a shutout, which was just reward for his excellent play during the game.

Verdict: A potential banana skin avoided, and a shame that Payette could not face the Phoenix. But a win was needed, and the Phoenix proved too much for the Steeldogs. In the end it was pretty easy for the Phoenix, but you still have to beat the team that is put out on the ice before you! It was always about the two points though, with the win the Phoenix now finish top of the Cup table which gives them home advantage for the two-legged semi-final and, should they make it, the final too! The game also saw the ongoing development of Andrew Sharp, he worked hard again, positioned himself well on the ice, and even got a few chances himself! Despite the poor atmosphere, big thumbs up to the pre-game warm up tunage, we rocked out to two Airbourne songs, a QOTSA song, Foos and some Metallica! Get in! At the end of the game, both sides took part in what has to be the longest handshake I've seen, with some many ex teammates and former Scimitar's players it seemed ever player wanted a quick catch up before moving on!

Attendance: As per the Steeldog's match report, attendance was 570, I wouldn't be surprised if around 200 of them were Phoenix fans!

Steeldogs 0 Phoenix 4 - Phoenix Article
Steeldogs 0 Phoenix 4 - CB Sport Article
Steeldogs 0 Phoenix 4 - Steeldogs Article