Thursday night saw the Phoenix take on the Slough Jets at the Altrincham Ice Dome, this would be a very tough game, but the rewards would be great. A win, and just one point is needed to lift the EPL title, a loss would be disappointing but things would still be in the Phoenix hands! So off we all went to Altrincham to watch the penultimate home league game of the season!
First Period: Not sure if the situation was getting the better of the Phoenix in the first period, but we looked nervous, passes were not going to stick's and we just could not clear our own zone. Pasha guilty of sending two clearances up centre ice, one of which lead to a Slough goal. Thankfully the Jets hadn't hit top gear and didn't take full advantage of the Phoenix errors! Having said all that it was the Phoenix who scored first! Go figure! After 5min 05sec on the powerplay Marcus and Curtis combined with quick passing to cross the puck to the far post for a rushing Ben Morgan to bury the puck home! In a theme of the period it took the Jets less than a minute to equalize. Scoring at 6min 04sec through Pliskauskas. After a passage of play which saw the Phoenix struggle Tony Hand took the puck and put Rockman on his bum to re-take the lead, at 17min 42sec. Again, less than a minute later the Jets equalized through Ryan Watt at 17min 04sec.
Second Period: The Phoenix came out and looked a more settled outfit in the middle session! 5 minutes into the period Ben Morgan stepped up and shot through Rockman's legs from the blue line, a wonderful goal, timed 25min 46sec. The Phoenix continued to dominate the play in the second period, but Slough had their chances, even hitting the post on one occasion. The Jets would tie the game again at 37min 08sec when Thompson scored a short handed goal. These really annoy me, you should not concede shorthanded goals. It really was a collection of errors, from loosing possesion to a bad timed line change which left Slough up the ice 2 on 1. After the goal the Phoenix moved the puck into the offensive zone and began to work the powerplay, and just as Slough went back to full strength Curtis Huppe picked up his own rebound to score. Making it 4-3 at 38min 17sec.
Third Period: At 4-3 the Phoenix looked on course to take two points, however I have no idea what happened! The Phoenix seemed to sit back content to sit on the lead. Which is never a good thing, and something the Phoenix have never been able to do! At 48min 40sec the Jets started their comeback and tied the game though Adam Calder, perhaps Fone should have done better with that as the puck just went through him! The Jets then took the lead through Pliskauskas at 53min 48sec and the Phoenix began to panic. After having the moment in the second, then switching off in the third they couldnt get going, so it was no surprise that in the last 1min 30sec they pulled Fone for another attacker only to concede an empty net goal to Connelly at 59min 57sec. Final score 6-4 Jets.
Verdict: In truth, a poor overall game from the Phoenix! You cannot compete for 20 of the 60mins and expect to get anything! Especially against the Jets with the offensive talent they have in Calder and Pliskauskas! I think the main thing that worried me, was the nervousness we showed, was it the Phoenix chocking being so close? I don't know! I just hope the loss will remind the guys, a win is not guaranteed, and something they need to work hard for! Still, everything is still in the Phoenix hands, 3 points from 4 games. With the final weekend being against the Wildcats and Phantoms. Next up for the Phoenix is MK, that will be tough! I would be happy with a point from that one!
Attendance: A smaller crowd than usual, but mid-week faceoff's never generate big crowds! I would guess around 700 in the Ice Dome last night!
Phoenix 4 Slough 6 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Slough 6 - CB Sport Article