In a week of un-usualness the next home game for the Phoenix saw the visit of the Telford Tigers to the Ice Dome. After the fallout from the Sheffield game thursday night, the main hope for the Phoenix faithful would be, a return to some form. While Telford had been struggling they, along with Sheffield, can be a difficult team to play. In fact earlier this season the Tigers had scored a win over the Phoenix in Shropshire after penalty shots.
Going into the game the Phoenix injury list had not gotten any shorter, with Spelda out, Stephen Wallace joined him on the sidelines finally scumming to a wrist injury which means he could be out of the lineup for up to 6 weeks! It never rains, it pours!
First Period: It was a very sombre mood at the Ice Dome saturday night, most Phoenix fan's still in shock from thursday nights fallout. For me, the important thing to come out of tonight's game would be the performance. The Phoenix had to show, and against a tough opponent like Telford, that they could pick themselves up and fight for a game. Thing's did not begin well, Stephen Wallace was ruled out of the game and for up to 6 weeks with a fractured wrist. Bloody great news that!! Anyway, the Phoenix hungry for the ice, and exploded in the first period. They looked fresh, quick and with the lines shuffled, due to injruy, quite creative! Those first 20 minutes saw 6 goals and the Phoenix race to a 4-2 lead. I'll just list the goals instead:
Phoenix, Cingel 4min 49sec
Phoenix, Harabin 6min 06sec
Phoenix, Archer 9min 08sec
Telford, Janak 13min 05sec
Telford, Soar 17min 08sec
Phoenix, Wood 19min 02sec
Highlight of the period was Ben Wood's goal at the 19min mark, from the point he took a wrist shot that went through at least 3 bodies and under Greg Blais in net. Just show's the value of putting a puck on the net to see what happens!
Second Period: The Phoenix blistering performance continued in the second and the Phoenix owned the twenty minutes that followed. The Period saw the Phoenix extend their lead to 8-2 and saw some goal light reward for two hard working, often unsung, Phoenix players. The first was Ciaran Long, who had worked hard all year with little reward finally getting a goal on home ice. Tom Duggan also picked up a goal, this just rewards for being the Phoenix MOM for a good few weeks now! Plus an honourable mention must go to Martin Cingel for completing a hattrick.
Phoenix, Long 23min 22sec
Phoenix, Cingel made by Koulikov 26min 34sec
Phoenix, Duggan 4 on 4 33min 55sec
Phoenix, Cingel hattrick 35min 48sec
Third Period: In true Tony Hand fasion the Phoenix eased up in the third period and, coupled with an injury, let the Tigers back into the game. With the lines rotating already, things were not helped when Tony Hand took a shot to the ankle which forced him out of the game. Up until this point, Faith/Cingel had been rotating onto lines with the younger Brits to spread the talent. After Tony's exit the lines were all over the place! Much of our creativity comes through him, so the last few minutes were a struggle! The Phoenix scored one more to make it 9 before Telford hit three un-answered goals in 8 minutes to make the score 9-5.
Phoenix, Harabin 43min 16sec
Telford, Henry 46min 23sec
Telford, Bruce 52min 46sec
Telford, Janak 54min 55sec
Verdict: For 50 minutes we got what we wanted, a performance from the Phoenix. I thought Blais in Telford's goal will admit he has had better games and had Declan Ryan been in goal from the start the scores may have been different! The injury to Wallce forced Tony to rotate the top line, and it was working nicely. It was good to see the likes of Long/Duggan playing with Faith. Losing Tony was a blow, and we did struggle a little after he left the ice. I can only hope he is not out for long.
I think most of the Phoenix faithful are getting fed up of our injuries. I think the Phoenix have only played half a game with a full roster! That first War of the Roses against Sheffield until Gomeniuk knee'd Ciaran Long. Since then we have had Long out, Archer, Ward, Harabin, Spelda, Wallace and Tony Hand out of action. In all my time of supporting hockey I've never know a roster so decimated by injury and a team going so deep into a season without ever icing a full roster!
Attendance: Saturday night's are not our usual home nights, and maybe the Sheffield performance deterred a few. Having said that, the crowd was swelled by a couple of hundred Scouts and a Field hockey team, so i'll guess around another 1-1,100 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 9 Telford 5 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 9 Telford 5 - Tigers Article
Phoenix 9 Telford 5 - CB Sport
With Spelda out, Wallace out and now Tony Hand missing from the lineup it's no surprise sunday's long trip down to Guildford was a disappointing one for the Phoenix!
Guildford 9 Phoenix 4 - Phoenix Article
Guildford 9 Phoenix 4 - Flames Article
Guildford 9 Phoenix 4 - CB Sport