The Phoenix had a Tigers weekend saturday and sunday, saturday seeing the team and fans head south to Shropshire for the first game of the weekend. Before welcoming the Tigers back to Altrincham sunday for the last game in the series between the two clubs. Prior to the weekend the Phoenix had a perfect record against the Tigers, however of the four games played,I would argue the Phoenix only played their best hockey in two of them.
So saturday the Phoenix and their merry bunch of fans headed off to Telford for another contest, one that would prove to be another close game! In fact the Tigers took the lead after just 55seconds, but Kristoffersson would break Tigers hearts scoring with 1min 46sec to go, and added an empty netter to seal a 4-2 victory for the Phoenix .
Sunday saw the Tigers come to the Ice Dome for the last time this season, bringing with them a healthy contingent of fans. The Tigers were still without two imports and the Phoenix still missing Harabin. As far as I understand it Harabin is seeing a specialist and hopes to be back on the ice as soon as possible!
First Period: The Phoenix started brightly in the game and were quick to exert pressure on the Tigers, for the majority of the period the puck stayed in the opposition end, the Telford goalie on fine form keeping his team in the game! When ever the Phoenix and Tigers have played each other the goaltending has single handedly kept them in the game. The same goes for sunday night, the Phoenix could have easily been 4 or 5 goals to the good had it not been for some wonderful saves. The Phoenix did finally break through after 10min 17sec when the Phoenix broke quickly up ice and Kristoffersson slotted home a shorthanded goal. Kristoffersson got his second of the game on the powerplay this time after 18min 16sec. The period ran out and many inside the Dome headed off for the break in good spirits. The Phoenix dominating the game so far.
Second Period: The theme continued in the second, the Tigers battling hard but the Phoenix coping and keeping the puck in the Tigers zone. First goal of the period came for Stephen Wallace just 1min 08sec into the second session. Wallace, like Kristoffersson, would score his second at 24min 41sec making the score 4-0 Phoenix. The Phoenix made it 5-0 through Curtis Huppe after 27min 04sec. This signalled a goalie change for the Phoenix and Summerfield came in for Fone. Personally I thought this was a big mistake. Putting our back up nettie in for over half the game, against a Tigers team that was more than capable of pushing the Phoenix to the limit. So it proved to be, through a combination of the Tigers sensing backup nettie blood, the Phoenix switching off completely thinking job done, and a few goals Summerfield would want back, the Tigers raced right back into the game. Their first came at 31min 40sec through NacKriel, number two came less than two minutes later through number 16, timed 33min 17sec. Player coach Tom Watkins got their second at 36min 26sec. You could feel the tension/anxiety in the air, Phoenix fans not quite sure what was happening. Worrying their team was coming close to throwing away what was a comfortable game! Many home fans in the Dome would have been glad to hear the buzzer go, now only hoping Tony would read the riot act and put Foney back in goal.
Third Period: With Fone back between the pipes the Phoenix set about securing the game. What ever Tony said in the locker room during the interval seemed to work! The Phoenix were back to dominating possession and frustrating the Tigers. Only one more goal was to follow and it was Kristoffersson who grabbed his hattrick at 44min 09sec with a real peach of a goal. That was it for scoring, the Phoenix third line got a good run out and Miller and Sharp were on the end of some good chances only to be denied by the Tigers goalie. Final score 6-3 Phoenix.
Verdict: Phew, a win that the Phoenix almost threw away! Overall it was a good performance and a comfortable game for the Phoenix, for 50mins of the 60!! I have no problem with playing your back up netminder, and 5-0 up looking comfortable against the Tigers why not. But I would never have played him as early as Tony did. With over half the game there was still time for the Tigers to fight back. Like I said above im not laying the blame fully at Summerfield's door, it is a team game after all. It seemed like the Phoenix shut off completely and allowed the Tigers back in. We know from experience how close the Tigers have come to turning us over, they cannot be taken lightly. Putting all that aside it was pleasing to see the Phoenix comfortable on the puck and dominating an opposition once again. Hopefully this form can be continued through to the end of the season!
Attendance: With a good away following and a couple of groups in the Ice Dome, I would have guessed around 900-1,000 in the Ice Dome
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