The Phoenix went into the weekend just gone with a freekishly halloweeny injury list! More specifically the Phoenix were down both import defencemen due to injuries! With Spelda gone to an ankle injury Ladislav Harabin took a shot to the face abd will be out for a few weeks with a facial injury! To help cover Phoenix drafted in former Slough defenceman John Connolly. So a patched up Phoenix headed into one of the toughest weekends of the season with a pair of games against the Bison.
Against all odd's, and with a standout performance from Steve Fone the Phoenix went in and came out with a 5-2 victory. A result that I defiantly did not predict! To be honest, with the injuries, i did not expect the Phoenix to get anything from the weekend!
Basingstoke 2 Phoenix 5 - CB Sport
Basingstoke 2 Phoenix 5 - Bison Report
With many fan's dressed in their finest halloween costumes the faithful re-united at the Ice Dome for the second game of the weekend series. Would the Phoenix injury ravaged roster start to tire, or would the backs against the wall mentality see them through? Would the Bison avenge saturday's loss? All valid questions and those in the Ice Dome would see answered!
First Period: According to some in the home support, a trait of recent Phoenix performances has been the lack of physical presence on the ice. That could not be said of the Phoenix in the first period. For the most part the depleted Phoenix defence coped well with the Bison, the Phoenix were hungry and pressed Colclough into action between the pipes. Around the 10min mark the Phoenix went on the powerplay, in what would become a theme of the game, this was not a good thing for the Phoenix! The Bison scored a short handed goal after 10min 16sec. While the Phoenix struggled to set up in the Bison zone, the Bison broke up the ice quickly and Joe Miller scored. Despite the goal the period continued and both teams battled intensely. As the buzzer......well the whistle, as the long suffering Phoenix scoreboard decided to stop honking, went the Phoenix went into the locker room just a goal down.
Second Period: The second carried on where the first left off really. both teams battling hard. The Bison began to up the physicality and without retribution from the Phoenix or the referee began to really disrupt the Phoenix play. The Phoenix powerplay continued to frustrate too, be it a combination of the Bison's disruptive play or the Phoenix lack of ideas, over the course of the game the Phoenix only ever set up on the powerplay for 20sec or so! Rubbish! Towards the end of the period the Phoenix would pick up a penalty that would, effectively, end the game! Down on the near corner Ryan Johnson and Joe Miller went into the boards, with Johnson the only one to skate out. Johnson was assessed a 5 plus match (later downgraded to game) penalty for accidental high sticks. The most ridiculous call in the history of the world! You can go and injure someone with intent and be assessed a lower penalty than an accidental high stick! The Phoenix, now down to 3 defenceman would have to kill off a 5 minute penalty! This would decide the course of the game!
Third Period: As the third began the Bison scored! Steve Moria, of all people, stepped up and scored the Bison's second goal just 34sec into the period. For many people, myself included that was it! It was tough seeing the Phoenix scoring one goal let alone three to win! The Phoenix battled on but the lack of defencemen began to take it's toll. The atmosphere fell flat and it was disappointing to see, im sure the Phoenix were not far off in this game, it just needed a spark, it needed one of our star's to work a bit of magic and everything would explode into life! Sadly this didn't happen and, on another powerplay, things got worse! After another woeful attempt at a PP, the Bison grabbed the puck and went up ice. James Neil rushing back to assist Foney, Stephen saved the shot but the rebound, went directly at Neil who watched helplessly as the puck rebounded off his leg into the open Phoenix net. 3-0 and an absolutely killer goal, scored at 51min 09sec. Game over im afraid!
Verdict: Not quite the apocalypse as some on the Phoenix forum are saying! But not a vintage Phoenix performance either! The result down in Basingstoke was a surprise, and it was obviously too much to expect another! The Phoenix worked hard, but with depleted defensive corps, and then loosing Ryan Johnson at the end of the second really hurt the Phoenix! Yes the Phoenix top line lacked a little spark, but the Phoenix were not far off the pace and could have won the game had a little luck fell to the Phoenix! Nevermind, the Phoenix got through another weekend with some points! While the team is hurting, it is good to see the point totally ticking over!
Attendance: Quite a few ghouls and zombies in the Ice Dome helping create a decent atmosphere, i'd say a crowd of 1,100 turned up.
Phoenix 0 Basingstoke 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 0 Basingstoke 3 - Bison Article
Phoenix 0 Basingstoke 3 - CB Sport