That's it then, the EPL season has begun! A tough opening for the Phoenix with an away trip to the hangar in Slough before facing a much improved Bison team in Altrincham sunday night. The Phoenix set off for the south on saturday for the first league game against the Jet's, and what an opener with the Phoenix taking it 5-3. In fact the Phoenix were 4-0 up after the first period, but then lifted off the gas to allow the Jet's slowly back into the game. Going into the last 10 minutes the Jets were within one goal before Faith scored the empty netter and bag the points with the win.
So, one game, two points, with the Bison in Altrincham could the Phoenix make it a four point weekend. Going into the Ice Dome I was positive, not confident mind, as the Bison had a fantastic pre-season with a pair of wins over the Flames. This would be a tougher game than against the Steeldogs!
First Period: The Bison began strong, working hard and bringing a very physical game to the ice. Moria had devised a game plan and the Bison were executing it perfectly. The Bison had the early edge but the Phoenix were not silenced and could well have been 4 or 5 goals up were it not for Matt Colclough in goal. Even so the Phoenix were looking shaky in defence, and it would be defensive mistakes that would cost them badly. The first goal came for the Bison when the Phoenix lost possession in the Bison zone, only to be caught on the break and Heron scoring after 6min 51sec. The Phoenix hit back and brought themselves level when Martin Cingel scored after 14min 42sec. That joy was short lived as the Bison scored again just 22sec later. Ex Phoenix Joe Miller picked up a clearance by Fone and with Steve backtracking into his net deaked the puck easily round Fone to slot into an empty net. Another defense fail followed while the Phoenix were on the powerplay, the Phoenix gave up a shorthanded goal to Marek Dubec with less than two minutes to go, the goal coming at 18min 23sec. First period, 3-1 to the Bison was possibly a little harsh, other than the defensive fails that lead to the Bison goals, the Phoenix were not outdone after the first 20minutes.
Second Period: The Phoenix made the best possible start when Wallace scored just 45sec into the period, reducing the deficit to 1 goal. The Phoenix looked a little sharper in this period, the defence was working hard and the Phoenix continued to put pressure on Colclough in the Bison net. The Phoenix managed to level the game towards the end of the second period when, Wallace, again stepped up and scored, that goal timed at 37min 03sec. A few more smiling faces in the stands as the buzzer sounded!
Third Period: Those positive vibes would be tested once more when Miller came back to haunt the Phoenix once more, putting the Bison ahead at 42min 07sec. As the Bison continued their game plan it was looking tough for the Phoenix. Even though they had hauled themselves back into the game before it was not given they would do it again. The Phoenix would manage it once more, on the powerplay no less! The PP has not started well this season, but that's an argument for another day! With the man advantage Cingel scored the game leveling goal at 43min 57sec and the Dome erupted. The period ended and the game went to OT. A good result for both sides as they both deserved at least a point from the game!
Overtime: Well it was a short lived OT session! After the opening faceoff the Phoenix pushed the puck into the Bison zone and managed to get a face off. Mr Hand and Mr Moria greeted each other at the faceoff, combined age.....(insert your own joke here) what followed was joy for the Phoenix but gutting for Colclough. As the puck dropped Moria and Hand clashed, the result of which saw the puck bobble at speed towards the goal and through Matt's legs giving the win to the Phoenix. Now I am delighted the Phoenix won, but I did feel gutted for Colclough, he had been stellar in goal, it was a freakish goal really. One he cannot let get him down! He is a fine keeper!
Verdict: A tough game for the Phoenix as they faced a much sterner examination than against the Steeldogs. The Bison brought skill, physicality and a game plan to Altrincham. I am just chuffed the Phoenix were still able to soak it up and grind out the win....with a little luck and fortune it must be said! For any Bison fan reading, you have a good looking team! One I think will challenge for the EPL title, if not the league you will win something this year! This game was another great entry into the Bison/Phoenix rivalry, a rivaly which is based on great hockey! As for the Phoenix, the signs are good. Not at their best and yet a four point weekend was still secured. Possibly the biggest positive so far has been our secondary scoring, so far our second and third lines have shone. Once the first line gets going we will have a formidable offence on our books!
Attendance: A good crowd in the Dome making lots of noise as usual, i'd guess at around 1,100 to 1,200 in the Dome.
Phoenix 5 Bison 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Bison 4 - CB Sport
Phoenix 5 Bison 4 - Bison Article