Thursday 30th December saw the Phoenix and their fans head for the hills for an EPL game against the Sheffield Steeldogs, this game would see a re-run of Payette v Sharp, round two! Or would it? In the days after the hastily arranged Phoenix/Steeldogs game from a few days earlier, and the subsequent fights between Sharp/Payette, the Steeldogs had asked for a supplementary review. The league, after viewing fan footage from youtube, decided to hit Sharp with a two game ban, which would see him sit out the Sheffield/Phoenix game on the 30th Dec and the Phoenix/MK game on the 2nd Jan.
So this game would not see round two...unfortunately!
You will have to forgive me, the three game reviews I have planned for the blog may be a little light on detail as ive not written them after each game! But stay with me, I will try and give you as good a picture of each game as possible!
First Period: As ever with the Steeldogs you are sure of a tough fight, and with Ben Bowns returning in goal a difficult evening! It is important to get a goal past him as soon as possible to break the air of invincibility he sometimes exudes. Thankfully the Phoenix were able to take the lead fairly early on, and on the powerplay too! I know, the Phoenix scoring a powerplay goal!! Anyway the goal came from Marcus Kristoffersson after 7min 15sec. Phoenix doubled their lead about two minutes later when, Ben Wood was rewarded for his perseverance around the Steeldogs goal. His goal coming at 9min 10sec. The Phoenix third came just 42sec later at 9min 52sec when Curtis Huppe got his goal. The Phoenix now 3-0 up were able to relax a little and cruise. But Sheffield would remind them there was still plenty of hockey to be played. Sheffield scoring on the powerplay through their excellent new addition Janis Ozolins, that goal coming at 13min 21sec.
Second Period: The main aim for the period for the Phoenix must been to close out the game and not do anything stupid. Thankfully they didn't do anything stupid and were able to finish off the game. Just two goals came in the period, this was even despite ref Wardell deciding the Phoeinix should be on the penalty kill for the whole period more or less! The first goal came to James Archer on a penalty shot. Archer broke down the left wing, and was hauled down in front of goal, legitimate call and the right call. James took an excellent penalty shot, fast in and deaked Bowns to score, the goal coming at 36min 47sec. While on the aforementioned period long penalty kill, the Phoenix would score again through Tony Hand. Hand stayed high in the zone and received a breakout pass, again he showed his class to deak Bowns and make the score 5-1, the goal coming at 38min 06sec.
Third Period: With the game effectively over the Phoenix eased off in the third and set about their job of containing the Steeldogs. As a result not much of note happened! The only goal of the period came to the Phoenix when Kristoffersson got his second of the night at 46min 55sec on the powerplay.
Verdict: A professional performance from the Phoenix, Sheffield are a tricky side to play. Much like the Tigers, what they lack in skill as a whole they more than make up for in hard work and determination. Plus, in Ben Bowns they have a cracking goalie, and one star for the future! It was sad Sharpie could not play, and maybe as a result Payette had nothing to do, as a result he was pretty anonymous for most of the game. A real plus for the Steeldogs is the find of their new guy Janis Ozolins, this guy is fast and skillful. He got himself out of the clutches of the Phoenix players numerous times, and most Steeldogs offence came through him. The reffing was also a little peculiar, especially during the second period! Wardell called the Phoenix for 10 penalties in total, including a 5 plus match for Harabin for high sticks, putting him out of the Phoenix v MK game. Made even worse by suspected foul play by Grundmanis!
Attendance: Sheffield struggle with their attendances, and against the Phoenix the Steelers were also at home to the Coventry Blaze. Attendance was 584, with at least 200 Phoenix fans making the trip.
CB Sport - Match report
CB Sport - Payette the Professional
CB Sport- Sharp Banned