I do apologise with the lateness of another match report, really must give my self a rocket up the proverbial and get them online in a more timely fashion! Anyway, the past weekend saw the Phoenix take on the Peterborough Phantoms in a away/home series. The Phoenix traveled down to Peterborough saturday night and took the lead, before the Phantoms took over. It looks like the Phoenix ran out of steam and the Phantoms ran out 3-1 winners. Another loss for the Phoenix and possibly the team hitting rock bottom?
Sunday night gave them the best chance to right that wrong and get back on track. Sunday's warm up also saw Jaroslav Spelda take to the ice, however he did not ice in the game. Still encouraging signs as it shows the Phoenix injury list is going to get smaller soon! The Phantoms always present a tough nut to crack, mainly because of the most aptly named goalkeeper in hockey, Stephen Wall. On a hot night he can be unbeatable, he gives the Phantoms a chance to win every game they play. A big, mobile, guy he fills the goal and can be a right pain! Sunday night would be a tough test for the Phoenix!
First Period: The Phoenix came out the blocks flying and really took the game to the Phantoms. The lines were, again, being mixed up due to absentee's and, with Tony on the bench it gave him a chance to see how the team plays. Maybe even see some of the frustrations we see in the stands. Anyway the Phoenix were testing Wall in goal and showed some desire and hunger. A much improved performance! The first goal came within the first 5mins with James Archer getting a deserved goal for all his efforts. His goal timed at 4min 40sec. The period continued well for the Phoenix and Slava (Dave) Koulikov netted another goal for the Phoenix at 16min 10sec. Slava is really beginning to up his point production now. The period ended 2-0 to the Phoenix.
Second Period: Could the good form last, or would the Jekyll and Hyde Phoenix return. Thankfully the good form of the first period continued in the second. Juraj Faith has performed very well being moved back into his more natural centre position, note to Sir Tony, why not spread the top line talent with Faith's improved performance in mind! Tom Duggan got a fair fe shifts at centre on the top line, with Faith rotating through lines 2 and 3 in the middle. Worked very well too! The Phoenix scored the next goal of the game when Faith found Cingel at 25min 40sec to make it 3-0 Phoenix. The period continued and the Phoenix continued to pressure the Phantoms, Tom Duggan made it 4-0 Phoenix with another goal to reward his constant good efforts on the ice. His fifth of the season coming at 36min 55sec.
Third Period: With the game at 4-0 the Phoenix eased off and looked to ride out the game and get the two points. The Phantoms threatened but never really tested Fone in goal. A few chances came the way of the Phoenix but Wall stood up to them and kept the Phoenix at bay. Only one goal came in the period and, sadly, it was to break a prospective shutout for Fone. Luke Ferrara was found in the hash marks and blasted the puck high into Fone's top left corner with around 4mins to go in the game.
Verdict: Great to get a win, great to see Spelda out on warm up but, even more important, a great performance from the Phoenix. The Phantoms have often proved to be a difficult opposition for the Phoenix and following on from the loss saturday night, heads could have been down. I must echo what, Nigel said on the podcast during the intervals, maybe the loss in Peterborough was rock bottom for the Phoenix. Maybe it forced them to think, this is not good enough, and forced them to re-focus and up their game. What ever happened, it worked! With that performance, and some bodies coming back from the injury table, thinks are looking a bit brighter for the Phoenix!
Attendance: A little lower than usual, maybe recent results had taken their toll, so i'll guess at around 1,000 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 4 Peterborough 1 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Peterborough 1 - CB Sport