So the MK Lightning came to town on the 2nd January to welcome in the new year. A big crowd, including a great turnout from the MK fans boosted the atmosphere, an Ice Dome in anticipation as games against MK have been real highlights since the Phoenix moved to the EPL. Some breaking news before faceoff was that the Phoenix had been in negotiations with the league and managed to get Sharpie's second game suspension suspended allowing him to play. The Phoenix would still be without Harabin who picked up a match penalty in the previous game in Sheffield. With Sharpie back in the lineup, this allowed Ben Wood to play the full game as part of a 4 man defensive unit. This game would see him log more minutes on the ice than he is accustomed to, and against a very good MK side too!
First Period: The game opened at the usual frenetic pace Phoenix/MK games usually do! The Phoenix were able to exert some early pressure, but did let MK slip with a few odd man rushes. Thankfully Stephen Fone was in top form, and robbed MK of at least two goals in the first period! The Phoenix opened the scoring, with Kristoffersson getting bagging another opener after 3min 13sec. The Phoenix then doubled their lead at 9min 47sec when James Archer scored on the powerplay. To ensure the game stayed close MK would get the last goal of the period scoring at 16min 55sec, also on the powerplay through serial aggitator Leigh Jamieson. Who, by the by, was a little subdued, along with Mr McPherson, as Sharpie was on the ice!
Second Period: The Phoenix wasted little time in the second to score again, Stephen Wallace getting his first of the night at 21min 28sec, being allowed to score from an impossibly tight angle. A goal im sure Mettam in net would want back! The Ice Dome exploded once more when the Phoenix made it 4-1 just a minute later. Ben Morgan scoring after 22min 30sec. All well and good so far, but MK are dangerous. In Andre Smulter they have a real star, it was Smulter who made the score 4-2 after 24min 37sec with a superb effort. This is a guy I have always wanted on the Phoenix roster, and got excited during the offseason when rumors started he was signing for the Phoenix! He didn't, so im left to admire him from the stands! The final goal of the period came to the Phoenix and made the score 5-2 to the home side. The goal coming at 38min 39sec and it was Wallace getting his second of the night.
Third Period: After MK replaced Mettam for Hollyhead in goal the scoring dried up, and with the game out of reach the Phoenix were content to contain MK and see out the period. This is where I wish Phoenix TV were pumping out highlights, as im sure they could fill some space for me regarding this third period! It seemed MK had run out of a little steam and the Phoenix did very well defensively to close out the win.
Verdict: As usual against MK this was another great game, one the large crowd really got stuck into. I would have loved to have been stood outside as the goals went in, must have been a loud roar! Another highlight for me was seeing messers Jamieson/McPherson being very quiet and subdued! Im sure both expected Sharpie not to be icing! A real highlight of the game had to be Stephen Fone, he had an absolute blinder of a game! While Wallace got man of the match, Fone was in for a shout too! He played brilliantly, and pulled off a sliding glove save, worthy of the highlights reel. A mention has to go to Ben Wood, who along with Wallace/Fone would have been a MOM contender for me! He put in a very assured performance with all the extra ice time he got, against a top opposition too! Well done Ben!
Attendance: According to Mag's it was the largest paying crowd at the Ice Dome, I would put the crowd at 1,400. The Phoenix have also been having live bands on for the last 6 or 7 games now, and the band on against MK were called Kranius. They were very good too! Best so far!
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Last but not leastly, why not head on over to Cold As Ice, a new blog run by a good friend of the Budgie's who takes some fantastic hockey pictures!