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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

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