The Angry Budgie Live

Friday, 25 February 2011

Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms 20th February Game Review

After the cup final disappointment the Phoenix faced a weekend pair of games away against the Bracknell Bees and home against the Peterborough Phantoms. Neither game could be taken lightly and after thursday nights disaster it wouldn't be a given the Phoenix would win either game! Thankfully the Phoenix returned to form and blew away the Bees down in Bracknell by a score of 6-3

The visit of the Phantoms is always difficult, they are a hard working team and Stephen Wall in net's is one of the leagues most difficult netties to score against. So...onto the game!

First Period: Starting their 6th game in 9 nights the Phoenix looked to jump out to a quick lead against the Phantoms. Peterborough had other ideas and scored the first goal on the powerplay at 6min 31sec. Curtis Huppe would get the Phoenix on the board and kick off, what would be, an epic night for the Canadian. His first goal of the game coming at 11min 52sec. The Phoenix took the lead just before the end of the first period when Huppe got his second at 19min 03sec. The Phoenix looked much improved since thursday night, however the odd defensive wobble had the Phoenix faithful a little tense. Too many stray passes still!

Second Period: Huppe got his hatrick goal at 24min 51sec, and he fully deserved it, the man was on fire! 3-1 Phoenix. Peterborough began their fight back and in the space of 5 minutes would haul themselves level! They made it 3-2 at 29min 27sec, and tied the game while shorthanded at 33min 03sec. Many a Phoenix fan getting the jitters now, fearing a return to the collapse seen the previous thursday night! Huppe scored his fourth of the night at 34min 33sec, but Peterborough would take tie things up once again at 36min 54sec.

Third Period: With a little concentration the Phoenix should be able to see out the game and claim the two points, things would not be so smooth! Around the 55min mark the Phantoms took the lead for the second time in the game and really ratchet up the tension in the Ice Dome. Up stepped Curtis Huppe for his 5th goal of the night (taking him to over 50 for the season I believe!) at 56min 18sec. There would be no further score and the game would head to overtime! The Phoenix did have a powerplay going into OT though, with a Phantoms player on a 5 plus match for cross checking, resulting in a very groggy Tom Duggan leaving the game, in the dying seconds a Phantoms D man took a delay of the game penalty giving the Phoenix a 5 on 3 at the start of OT!

Overtime: With the two men advantage the Phoenix did not take long to secure the extra point! No, not Huppe! But Kristoffersson scoring this time after 60min 49sec.

Attendance: A good crowd in the Dome, i'll say around 900.

Verdict: A very relieved Ice Dome, and a much needed 4 point weekend for the Phoenix! While not the greatest performance it was much better when compared to the EPL Cup 2nd leg semi final thursday night! So another two points secured, but defiantly not a 'pretty' win!

Next up for the Phoenix is an away/home stand versus the Telford Tigers, a team the Phoenix should beat, but given some of the games against the Tigers, 4 points that would defiantly be tough to get!

Phoenix 6 Peterborough 5 - CB Sport
Phoenix 6 Peterborough 5 - MEN
Phoenix 6 Peterbroough 5 - Phoenix Article

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 17th February EPL Cup Semi Final Game Review

This game was an usual mid-week faceoff for the Phoenix, the thursday night game being the second leg EPL Cup semi-final against the Basingstoke Bison. The first leg down in Basingstoke went well for the Phoenix, Sir Tony of Hand scoring the game winner with minutes to spare in the third period. The score from the first leg a useful 3-2 lead for the Phoenix. A nice position to be in, going into the second leg in Altrincham you would think?

Read on.....!

First Period: 188seconds, that's all it took for the Bison to pull level in the tie. Their first goal coming after some worryingly shoddy defending from the Phoenix. Sadly this would not be the only time the Phoenix D was called into question! Just under two minutes later the Bison took the lead, a shocked Ice Dome sat in silence not quite understanding what had happened to the Phoenix. A little brightness came through the clouds at 11min 01sec when Huppe scored to tie the aggregate scores. Even though the Phoenix had scored, the defence was still poor, I couldn't criticise the D men alone, this was a team defensive fail! The Bison scored again after 13min 28sec and as the Phoenix faithful were scratching their heads, up stepped Stephen Wallace to make it 2-3 Bison. Scoring after 14min 51sec. The Bison would have the last laugh though in the period, scoring just 23sec from the final hooter to make it 4-2 Bison and 6-5 overall. Sadly the game looked beyond the Phoenix at this point, I remember thinking that period rivalled the worst I had ever seen at the Phoenix. Our team looked slow, out of ideas and most worryingly, we looked nervous in our own zone.

Second Period: It would be ok though, Tony would read the riot act in the dressing room and things would be ok right? Wrong! The Bison scored the first goal of the second period after 24min 29sec. Despite the poor play the Phoenix, somehow, stayed in the tie. Joe Miller scored for the Phoenix after 25min 16sec. Then, just as quickly as the Phoenix got back into the game, they gave away another goal. At 26min 57sec Basingstoke scored again. My exact tweet was: 'Goal Bison, scored: 67, timed: 26:57. Lost for words!!' End of second 6-3 Bison and 8-6 Bison overall. The buzzer went and the silence was deafening! I must give credit to the Bison, they were playing a very solid road game, so when you add that to a terrible Phoenix performance so far, you can imagine the mood in the Phoenix stands!

Third Period: Nevermind still 20mins of hockey left to play! It was the Phoenix who scored first in the third period, Sir Tony of Hand scoring on the powerplay bringing the Phoenix within a goal. In fact that was the only goal in the third period, not enough for the Phoenix and the Bison won the tie overall on a score of 8-7.

Attendance: Not a bad crowd in the Ice Dome, given it was mid-week and a non season ticket game, I would have guessed around 700 in the Ice Dome.

Verdict: As mentioned previously, one of if not the worst game put in by a Phoenix team that I have ever seen! Take nothing away from the Bison, they played very well, but quite simply the Phoenix rolled over and handed the game to the Bison. I do remember thinking, as bad as the Phoenix are/were, they were only a goal or two from getting back into the game. I think I mentioned it on the podcast during an interval, I could easily see the Phoenix scoring the goal or two, but I could easily see them conceding more! In the end the Bison are deserved finalists, and the Phoenix do now, at least, not have the worry of shoe horning two extra games, and cup final games at that, into a busy title run in. Whereas the Bison now do, and the Jets/Fames may have to! No, the most worrying thing for me was the performance, surely this was not the same title chasing Phoenix team I had been watching all season? But that's my opinion, credit to the guys though, they are professional sportsmen, and the look on their faces as they skated round the ice at the end said it all, they were hurting.....big time!

Phoenix TV - 21st Feb

Manchester Phoenix TV 21/02/11 from Manchester Phoenix TV on Vimeo.

Phoenix 4 Basingstoke 6 - MEN Article
Phoenix 4 Basingstoke 6 - CB Sport Article

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Phoenix v Milton Keynes Lightning 13th February Game Review

The Phoenix faced another tough weekend with an away trip to Slough before welcoming the MK Lightning to the Ice Dome. Saturday's away trip, sadly, resulted in a loss for the Phoenix, but it is always tough to go to Slough and get a result. Especially after the Jets signed Adam Calder, one of the best imports to play in the EPL. Next up on the tough weekend were the Lightning, another tough team to play. With the arrival of Emersic they are a potent offensive team!

The Phoenix would be without Harabin for the game as he suffered a horrible slash to the wrist which has left him in hospital for the past few days requiring surgary. Latest I heard was positive though! MK were without Nick Pooleas Kalgoum had returned from injury MK had to rest their 5th import.

First Period: Fans used to Phoenix/MK games will know they are always entertaining affairs, this one would not dissapoint. Both teams played hard from the first puck drop. The Phoenix made a good start when Tony Hand was found on the back post to score after 3min 28sec. Really chuffed with the early goal as Barry Hollyhead has single handedly denied the Phoenix on numerous occasions! Things would get better for the Phoenix at 14min 25sec when Huppe crashed the net and scored from his own rebound. The first period ended with delight for Phoenix fans as their team was, deservedly, ahead 2 goals to 0.

Second Period: More of the same during this session, both teams playing hard, but the Phoenix doing very well in keeping the MK offence quiet. In fact it took until the last minute of the first period before I notcied Emersic on the ice. This guys usually tears us apart, so that was a good thing! Anyway the Phoenix went on the powerplay early in the second and Huppe got his second of the night after 35min 35sec. The game looked to be tied up when Kristoffersson scored with just 45sec left in the period. The score now 4-0 Phoenix.

Third Period: Things got better for the Phoenix when James Neil stepped up and got a goal for the hard working third line. It was att his point that the Phoenix seemed to take their foot off the gas and get into a little penalty trouble. Though, having said that, ref Wardell had a mare! MK got themselves on the board at 46min 47sec when Emersic took advantage of a blatant hook on a Phoenix player to score an odd man rush. The Lightning then closed the game right up and made every Phoenix fan tense when they then scored three goals in about 4 minutes. Their second came on the PP through Kalgoum timed at 51min 38sec, their third then followed at 53min 34sec, and their fourth a penalty shot goal at 55min 55sec through Adam Carr. Im in two minds about the penalty shot, Ben Morgan was the last defender and dived for the puck, im sure he got it, but he got a big piece of Carr who went down. Wardell did not call it initially but after discussions with his fellow linesmen he did. Despite this the Phoenix were able to pick themselves up, survive the late pressure, and close out the win, 5-4.

Verdict: A good performance from the Phoenix, well for the first 50mins of it! for some reason going 5-0 they just switched off. Against an offence like MK's, not a wise thing to do! Im pleased it was another good performance from the boys, they really are clicking now, and Fone in net was superb! MK put up a good fight, but I though lacked a spark with Poole not icing. Given he is their Tony Hand, all their creativity comes through him, and it showed MK lacked a little without him. What made the win sweeter was the Flames loosing at home to Slough. Thus restoring the Phoenix 6 point lead at the top.

Attendance: A good crowd in the Dome, ill say it must have been around 1,100

Phoenix 5 MK 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 MK 4 - CB Sport Article

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Phoenix v Slough Jets 30th January Game Review

Last weekend was a toughie for the Phoenix, saturday night saw a trip down to play the Bison, who have been in some good form of recent. Then a home game against the Slough Jets, bonafide title chasing teams. Going into the weekend I would have been happy with 3 points, an OT loss in Basingstoke and a home win against the Jets.

Saturday night's game also saw the debut of Joe Miller in a Phoenix shirt, and it sounds like he had the desired effect. Scoring our first goal and helping the boys to a 5-4 overtime win. A great result in a tough place to play! What sounded even better was the performance and determination to come from behind on 4 occasions. Pleased to see Tom Duggan also drop the gloves, squaring up against ex Phoenix player Carl Graham. Highlights can be seen on the Basingstoke Bison website.

Sunday saw the Jets head north including new signing Adam Calder, of ex Coventry Blaze fame. After what could have been a devastating loss of Blaz Emersic to the MK Lighntning, Calder has come in and filled that gap. In fact in his first five games, I think Calder is on something like 5 goals and 5 assists. An impressive return for one of the best players to ever play in the EPL! Anyway the Jets got off to the best possible start scoring after 30 seconds. Thankfully for the other 59min 30sec of the game the Phoenix dominated. I have always thought if you can shut Slough's top line down you shut Slough down. The Phoenix managed to do so very well and neutralised the threat of Calder for the whole game. On the Phoenix side, Kristoffersson had another blinder, scoring goals with ferocious force! Joe Miller bagged another goal with a superb drive through centre ice straight at Greg Rockman.

The Phoenix skated to a deserved 5-1 victory capping an excellent 4 point weekend. Importantly two wins against fellow title chasing teams. As I mentioned on the Phoenix forum, the biggest plus for me, was the performance. This was a return to the Phoenix best, and I really think the introduction of Joe Miller helped boost the team. Hopefully Sharp will return soon to add the extra toughness he brings.

So a fantastic weekend for the Phoenix and some form they must continue. Next up for the Phoenix is a home game against the Bracknell Bees, just the one game next weekend.