The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 26th January Game Review

After the #phoenixtrain's momentary stop after the loss in Guildford, thursday night saw a chance to get the train rolling again. The visitors, the Sheffield Steeldogs. A team the Phoenix need no introduction too! Sheffield are a team who like to play physical hockey and, on many occasion, dirty hockey. If there is one team that sums up the darker side of the game its Sheffield. Led by the EPL's chief aggitator/good (depending on your viewpoint_ Andre Payette they are a tough nut to crack. Thursday nights game saw the Steeldogs give debut's to new import, and Ozonlins fellow Latvian countryman Raivis Kurnigins. The Steeldogs also welcomed Sheffield academy player Shaun Wild who will step up from U18 level and ice for the Steeldogs for the remained of the season.

So many questions going into the game, Was the Phoenix train having problems in the station? Is Sheffields new Latvian a taller Ozolins? and, how bad would the ref be?

First Period: In typical fashion the game began physcial, loads of hits and hard work filled the first period, if no goals did. Both teams were working hard to close the opposition down as early as possible. Both sets of defence keeping their centre ice clear and clearing all the rebounds given out by the keepers. Sheffield (really Payette/G Wood) looked to target the likes of Duggan and Harabin early on. Trying to draw them into penalties, but with no success. In fact, it was quite amusing watching Payette getting so wound up. Why does he always target players who are smaller than him? Who knows! The period ended with no goals and only a few clear cut chances for either side. But with both goalies being too good for straight on shots. The Phoenix/Steeldogs would have to be a bit more clever.

Second Period: In all honesty, much of what I said above also applied to the second period. No goals, lots of physical play, some shocking decisions from the ref, both in calls made but more those he missed. Also, some terrible linesman decisions too! A trend began to appear in the second too, I don't think we got through one faceoff without it being blown dead instantly and reset. I don't remember it happening so often in one game. Sheffield will probably regret two of the chances that came their way in the second period. On two occasions they had breakaway opportunities only for Foney to stonewall them both times. He really stood tall for the Phoenix and showed he is playing with so much confidence right now.

Third Period: Scoreless after 40mins of hockey something would have to give eventually. I don't think many in the Ice Dome wanted to still be there at midnight! The breakthrough came after 43mins when Tom Duggan drove to the net and forced home his own rebound underneath Ben Bowns. The Ice Dome erupted and the deadlock was broken. This really spurred the Phoenix on and they slowly began to exert some control over the Steeldogs. If the first goal was scrappy, the second was lucky! After a bit of a melee round Bowns goal the puck broke to the right to Ciaran Long who span round, and whipped a backhand on goal. Bowns got a piece of the puck, only to deflect it onto the crossbar and into the goal. Hey, you need luck sometimes! Andre called a time-out to regroup and push for some goals. In the 51st minute some lovely play from the Phoenix saw Koulikov break in on goal and unleash a monster of a slapshot past Ben Bowns making the score 3-0 Phoenix. Shortly after a nasty incident happend to Ben Bowns in the Sheffield goal. After a Phoenix attack and subsequent scrum it appeared a Sheffield play,accidentally, hit Bowns in the throat, which left him needing medical attention. Thankfully Ben got up and skated back to the bench under his own steam. With backup netminder Dimitri Zimozdra in goal and being up 3-0 the Phoenix eased off and saw out the game giving Fone a deserved shutout!

Verdict: I always enjoy a win over Sheffield, it shows you can win a game without resorting to the dark arts. Sheffield play hard, but I despise the way they play the game. A hard fought win and one that gets the #phoenixtrain rolling once more!

Attendance: Midweek games never do much to generate a big crowd, but a decent turnout saw to a good atmosphere. I would say maybe 7-800 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 3 Sheffield 0 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Sheffield 0 - CB Sport
Phoenix 3 Sheffield 0 - Steeldogs Article

Monday, 30 January 2012

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 21st Game Review

After the indifferent start to the season from the Phoenix, heading into this home/away set against the Flames, the Phoenix were riding high and confident on the back of an 8 game win streak, which kicked off after the last home win against Milton Keynes. During the run the team has looked confident and has regained some healthy bodies. In fact, Tony Hand is the remaining injury concern for the Phoenix, he is expecting to be back playing during February. The Flames are the current top team in the EPL, and every game between the Phoenix and the Flames (insert appropriate DragonFornce reference here!) usually are epic encounters. Two teams who like to play hockey and have rosters stacked full of talented players.

Early news from the game saw the Phoenix without Sir Toe Knee of Hand and the Flames were without Sharp (suspended) and Curtis Huppe (injured).

First Period: From the first faceoff both teams went right at it, the early exchanges were tough with either team only carving out a few chances each. The Phoenix did well to keep the likes of Towe, Remple et all quiet and keep Mark Lee in goal busy. Meanwhile in the Phoenix net Steve Fone was playing like a man possessed. Pulling off some awesome saves, coupled with some glaring misses meant the Phoenix were holding firm. It was the Phoenix who broke the deadlock and delighted the home crowd. With the puck circling the Guildford zone, Ben Wood found some space on the hash marks to fire the puck past Mark Lee, Ben's second goal in as many games coming after 9min 49sec. Ladislav Harabin is obviously an easy player for opposition clubs to target, throughout the first period he had been 'enjoy' the attentions of some Flames players. Imagine his joy when, at 16min 59sec, he rifled a shot home for a PP goal. One very happy Harabin!

Second Period: With the Phoenix holding a deserved two goal lead the second period developed into somewhat of a chess match. Both teams working hard and cancelling each other out. Both Lee and Fone making great stops in their goals. The Phoenix also benefited from some shoddy finishing from the Flames. Which is very uncharacteristic of them, but there were at least two chances in the period where the Flames really should have scored.

Third Period: Within the first minute of the final session the Phoenix made, what was to be a decisive score, just 25sec into the period Juraj Faith scored the Phoenix third goal of the game. This really knocked the stuffing out of the Flames and set off the Ice Dome crowd. The Phoenix began to dominate the play and a fourth goal followed on the powerplay from Slava Koulikov, a lovely slap shot too! With the game winding down the Phoenix tried to ensure a shutout for Steve Phone. Sadly this wasn't to happen when, at 56min 08sec Savage unleashed a ripper of a shot to the top left corner. That was one hard shot, it was in and out of the goal before anyone even knew! Still, if you had offered me a 4-1 victory and the 9th on the bounce before the game, I would have ripped your hand off!

Verdict: A fantastic win for the Phoenix over title rivals, the recent run has given the team so much confidence and it shows! The team work hard, connect well, and Fone is seeing the puck as a beach ball at the moment. A deserved victory and one that makes you wonder, had the Phoenix had a full bench to begin the season, what shape would we be in now?

Attendance: A large crowd in the Dome, as they usually are against the Flames, so i'll guess around 1,500 in the Dome.

Phoenix 4 Guildford 1 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Guildford 1 - Guildford Article
Phoenix 4 Guildford 1 - CB Sport

The Phoenix then returned to Guildford the night after looking to extend the run top 10 games. Sadly this was not to be and the Flames ran out 5-2 winners:

Guildford 5 Phoenix 2 - Phoenix Article
Guildford 5 Phoenix 2 - Guildford Article
Guildford 5 Phoenix 2 - CB Sport

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Phoenix v MK Lightning 15th January Game Review

The Phoenix went into last weekend on the back of an impressive 6 game winning streak, all thoughts of the early season troubles banished in many a keyboard warriors mind! ;-) The Phoenix, still without Tony Hand welcomed back Tom Duggan for the weekends games and, with Stephen Wallace back playing meant last seasons champions are just the one man short of a full roster. A trip to Bisonland saturday night, and an impressive 5-0 victory was followed by hosting the MK Lightning in Altrincham. An easy weekend to continue the streak, haha, this is the EPL, as if!

After a superb 5-0 win in Basingstoke the Phoenix faced the, not so insignificant task of the MK Lightning. A very talented team, ex EPL league winners, and a team that will always score. The Lightning always bring good away support and, with a fair number of fans filling the away block and a large home crowd, everyone settled in for another entertaining game.

First Period: The last time these two teams met in Altrincham it looked like MK were still on the bus. The Phoenix came out strong and dominated MK, this time was different. It was obvious Nick Poole was not going to let the same thing happen twice (insert applicable Lightning striking cliche here!). The opening session was played hard and physical with neither team really dominating the opening exchanges. The Phoenix got on the scoreboard first with Tom Duggan cementing his excellent return to the line up scoring a lovely goal after 96 seconds.....really must get him back in my fantasy Phoenix team! The Lightning kept in touch scoring their first before the game was three minutes old. Adam Carr levelling the game after 2min 51sec. This is about the time the Mr Boardman show took over, im not one for criticising referee's but (that's ironic) he was terrible. So many missed calls, dangerous ones too, he was awful for both teams. With the Phoenix on a penalty kill Tom Duggan stepped up and scored a wonderful Short Handed breakaway goal putting the Phoenix 2-1 up after 16min 43sec.

Second Period: A response from MK was assured, the Phoenix had dealt well with their aggression and play so far. The second period would turn out to be, almost, one long penalty kill for the Phoenix. As Mr Boardman's calls become more and more ridiculous! Phoenix won period one 2-1 MK would win this period by the same score. Juraj Gracik scored the levelling goal on the power play at 25min 04sec. Before the game reach the half way mark Juraj Faith got his first of the night putting the Phoenix ahead once more, at 29min 25sec. While the crowd were celebrating the Lightning hit right back and tied the game, once again, through Grant McPherson scoring at 30min 44sec. Not a classic period, the constant flow of penalties put paid to that! So 3-3 and heading into the final period, all to play for!

Third Period: 20mins of hockey would see the winner take the game Would it be the Phoenix, to extend their streak and the series hold over MK. Or would the Lightning halt the run and pull level in the series with the Phoenix? The Phoenix got the best start scoring the first goal of the period, Ben Wood stepping up and showing that, shooting a puck on net pays dividends some times. His hard/low shot from the blue line found its way under Mettam's legs and dribbled over the goal line. The Phoenix 4th goal coming at 44min 35sec. The next two goals for the Phoenix sealed the game and offered the respective players some payback for the 'attention' they had been getting from MK all game. Firstly #moveslikespelda got his goal at 47min 55sec on the powerplay and offered a salute to the fans. His rocket of a shot finding the net, he really does have an awesome slapshot! The biggest cheer of the game came for the next, and last, goal of the game. Ladislav Harabin scoring the 6th of the night on the powerplay again with a rocket from the blue line at 51min 22sec. With the Phoenix 6-3 up and MK not willing to pull Mettam the game finished with a 6-3 Phoenix victory.

Verdict: A tougher test this time from MK, but the Phoenix rose above all the on ice agitating to record another satisfying win over MK. Tom Duggan returned and looked like he had never been off the ice. One big big satisfaction from this game, and from the Bison game is the Phoenix secondary scoring. This has been excellent the past few games and is a big reason for the ongoing streak the Phoenix are enjoying. Half the Phoenix goals last night came from the Phoenix third line through Duggan and Wood. Big credit to that line!

Attendance: A big one again, a few newbies and groups swelling the numbers, so I will say 1,500 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 6 MK Lightning 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 MK LIghtning 3 - CB Sport

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Desert Dogs-a-Howlin' - December

A 16 game December is next for the Coyotes, a schedule not exactly relaxing for the festive month! There's no repeat of the epic 5 game road trip experienced in December but a packed month none-the-less. The month also gives the Yotes their first taste of action against the Oilers and NY Rangers. There'll be some banter with Gem over that game!

@Jets, First up for December was a return trip to Winnepeg to face the Jets.The Coyotes had won the first game in the series 4-1 at the Jobing and this was a chance for revenge back at the MTS centre. Going into the game the Coyotes were on a 2 game winning streak and expected a hostile reception. Despite being booed throughout the game the Coyotes pressured the jets all game, but the result would be a win for the Jets. Only one goal scored in the game through Bryan Little. So a disappointing return to Winnepeg but not the end of the world.

v Flyers, The Coyotes returned to Phoenix to take on the, aptly named, Flyers. Riding high and scoring loads of goals the Flyers took the game to the Phoenix and, effectivly, won it in the first period. The game would also see Mike Smith pulled for the first time this season conceding 4 goals on 17 shots. The stats don't look good for Smith, but the goalies can only do so much when the team in front is not helping out! The Flyers first period goals came from Read, Simmonds, Giroux and Hartnell. With LeBarbera in for the 2nd and 3rd periods the Coyotes steadied the ship and did not concede any further goals. In fact they staged a little comeback and make the score look a little more respectable. A second period goal from Whitney and a second goal in the final minute of the third from Boedker gave the home fans something to cheer about.

@Blackhawks, Just six days ago the Coyotes were in Chicago and left the windy city with both points, this time around the Coyotes would again leave Chicago with the win, but a much harder fought win this time. Once again the Coyotes jumped out to an early lead. By the end of the first session the Yotes were two goals to the good through Rafi Torres and Vrbata, damn that guy can't stop scoring! Yandle put the Coyotes 3-0 up early in the second, this goal seeming to wake up the Blackhawks as they scored soon after through Toews. Toews would cut the deficit again by deflecting a shot from the point by Duncan Keith. The game tying goal capped off the comeback when Patrick Kane was found on the back post to score in the top corner. A solid third period from the Coyotes saw the game head to OT and Penalty Shots, Oliver Ekman-Larsson got the game winner. So thats two games in Chicago and 4 points, as a Yotes fan, iv'e got to be happy with that!

@Nashville, The day after their win in Chicago the Coyotes head south to Nashville to take on the Predators. their previous game against the Pred's came on the day of Rinne's birthday and the day he signed a massive contract. The Coyotes were determined this would be different, the Coyotes took the lead just 9 seconds into the game through Taylor Pyatt. The Coyotes/Jets franchise record is 5 seconds, so nearly a new record! The Pred's did tie the game in the first period scoring with 12 seconds left in the session. What was it with the early/late goals!?!? No goals followed in the second period, but the third would burst into life. Ray Whitney put the Yotes ahead before Weber would, once again, tie the game. The two top players on the Phoenix roster would step up and secure the win. Shane Doan made a great play to find Keith Yandle to make the final score Preds 2 Coyotes 3!

@Detroit, The Coyotes rolled into Detroit on the back of two road wins in Chicago and Nashville, the game against Detroit would be their third in four nights and see the Yotes return to Detroit for the first time since being swept out of the playoffs last season. The Wings absolutely obliterated the Yotes in the first twenty minutes by scoring 5 unanswered goals. I think the Yotes were still on the plane or in a different time zone! Mike Smith came into the game in great form, yet he wouldn't last the period! Goals from Bertuzzi, Filppula, Holmstrom, Helm and Hudler sealed the win for the Wings early on. LeBarbera came in after the fourth and only conceded one more for the game. The Coyotes finally got on the board in the second thanks to a laser shot from Vrbata and the scoreline was made more respectable in the third after a PPG from Martin Hanzal. Normally I would not expect much going into Motor City, but had the first period been different, I wonder what the result may have been?

vWild, The Coyotes came back to the desert to face the high flying Wild and the slow start would hurt the Coyotes....again. After their first period capitulation to the Wings the Coyotes endured another awful start to the game, and were 4 nil down going into the last ten minutes. Mike Smith again in goal put alot of the blame on himself which can be a little unfair, there is only so much a goalie can do without a team in front of him! The other major issue at the moment is the Coyotes PP, dead last in the NHL standing at just 10%! That has to change if the Coyotes have any hope of winning games. The solitary scorer for the Coyotes was Korpikoski who scored at the 11min mark in the third period. A disappointing loss, especially as the Coyotes were leading the Pacific Division coming into the game.

@Ducks, The Coyotes headed off to California for their next game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Ducks worked hard and came out of the game with a well deserved 4-1 victory. Martin Hanzal getting the only goal for the Yotes. Despite spending much of the second period in the Ducks zone the Coyotes only had the one goal to show for their efforts. The Ducks outworking and out thinking the Coyotes across the ice. Mike Smith was again in goal and unfortunately for him picked up the loss too.

vOilers. The Coyotes needed a big game, a bounceback game, and the Oilers gave it to them. The Coyotes worked hard and traded goals with the Oilers, but ground out a 4-2 victory massively out shooting the Oilers 42-20 in the process. Korpikoski and Vrbata scored hussel goals for the Coyotes only to be pegged back by Taylor Hall, both times, to bring Edmonton back into the game. After Hall made the scores 2-2 6mins into the third period the next goal was always going to be massive. This is where you need your franchise players to step up, and Shane Doan did just that! Oliver Ekman-Larsson added a 4th goal for insurance and the Coyotes got the deserved win, dominating the Oilers over the full 60minutes. The game also giving Mike Smith a morale boosting win!

vRangers, Rangers were next to the Desert and this game would see a heartbreak ending. The Rangers took the lead through Gaborik only for Korpikoski netting a short handed goal with 9 sec left in the first period. The Coyotes would take the lead in the second period with Cal O'Reilley scoring a PPG, that special team unit really clicking for the Yotes. The Ranges pegged them back early in the third period when Gaborik scored his second of the night. That goal was Gaborik's 300th in the NHL. The game was destined for OT only for Ryan McDonagh for the Rangers battled in the corner, back handed a pass towards the goal for Brad Richards to deflect it goalwards. After review the goal was ruled good and the Rangers won the game with 0.1 seconds to go. As I said, a real heartbreaking end!

@Panthers, the Coyotes had to wait three nights to get over the pain of losing a game with a tenth of a second to go. The opposition this time were the Florida Panthers. Perhaps this game saw lady luck smile on the Coyotes after she so harsly ditched them against the Rangers. The Coyotes went 2-0 after the first half of the game through goals from Whitney and Vrbata, both PPG's showing that unit finally clicking. The Panthers narrowed the gap through Brian Campbell in the second setting up a close third period. Just before lady luck got warmed up, she would give the Coyotes one last kick, Mike Smith suffering a groin injury just 3mins into the period. LeBarbera came in and would be involved in the moment where Lady Luck shone for the Coyotes. Stephen Weiss got a penalty shot opportunity late on for the Panthers but LeBarbera pulled off a big save and the puck trickled towards the goal line only to stop short. Giving the Coyotes the win!

@Hurricanes, A stanley cup winner with the Hurricanes, Ray Whitney returned to Raleigh and in front of friends and family got the Coyotes rolling towards a great 4-3 win. A win which saw the Yotes come from 3-1 down in fact! After allowing Ruutu, Nodi and Tlusty to fire the Hurricanes into the lead the Coyotes dug deep and hit back with 3 unanswered of their own. Further goals coming from O'Reiley, Klesla and Korpikoski with the game winner. So a satisfying return for Whitney, and a welcome break from the Coyotes 1-11-1 record when trailing after the first two sessions. They hung around and it paid dividends!

vBlues, The Blues came to town and, on the day the Coyotes inducted Keith Tkachuk into their ring of honour the Blues would be the party poopers! No goals came in the first period the Blues won the second 2-1 and fought a hard 1-1 third to get the 3-2 win. Steen and D'Agostini for the Blues and Doan for the Yotes were the scorers in the second period. Arnott and Yandle traded markers in the third and it finished 3-2 Blues. The 30 minute induction ceremony may have contributed to the sluggish start, but its remarkable to think that all but 18 games of Tkachuk's career were played for the Blues and Coyotes!

@Kings, The injury hit Coyotes went to Los Angeles to take on the Kings on the back of a western conference leading away form of 11-6-1. Unfortunately that road record would count for nothing when a combination of injuries and the LA Kings offence turning up saw the home side skate out with a 4-3 win. LeBarbera was in goal once again but then gaveway to Curtis McElhinney after conceding the 4th goal of the night. Scuderi, Torres and Richardson traded goals in the first period leaving it 2-1 Kings. Torres got his second of the night with the only marker of the second period. Mitchell and Brown gave the Kings the advantage in the third period and only one goal for the Coyotes Langkow gave the home side the win.

vBruins, The Stanley Cup champions came to town and a soldout awaited them. Before the puck drop I would have said the Coyotes would be lucky to get anything from the game, but in reality they came so close to the win! In a game short on goals the Bruins exploded out the blocks with a goal after just 47 seconds from David Krejci. Ray Whitney got his 13th of the season and tied the game 1 a piece. It would stay this way all the way into OT. Before OT was even 1 minute old lady luck deserted the Coyotes, a shot from Dennis Seidenberg deflected off Coyotes defenceman Derek Morris between LeBarbera's pads giving the Bruins the extra point! So a point against the Bruins.....i'll take that!

@Avalanche, The Coyotes went to Colorado to face a team who's past seven wins have been by one goal margins. The teams traded goals throughout the first and second periods with the Avs going first. Kevin Porter, then Mikkel Boedker made it 1-1. Then Stefan Elliot and Mikkel Boedker (again) made it 2-2. With the scores tied, win the third and you win the game. Gabriel Landeskog would score the only marker of the third session to give the Avs yet another close win.

@Wild, The coyotes went to Minnesota to avenge their early month loss to the Wild in the arena. A season high crowd in the Excel Energy Centre greeted both sides. Curits McElhinney was in goal once again as the injury riddled Coyotes looked to get back to winning ways. No goals in the first period gave way to two in the second. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scoring first for the Wild only for Langkow to score a PPG to tie the game. The fourth period went crazy with goals. A pair for Radim Vrbata would give the Coyotes the ultimate edge in the third period. Matt Cullen scored a penalty shot to make the scores 3-2 and, I was even able to listen to the last 5mins on my phone through the NHL gamecentre app McElhinney stood tall for the Coyotes and stoned the Wild in the dying minutes. Ray Whitney broke into centre ice and was able to add the empty netter for the Coyotes.

The Coyotes went 6-9-1 through the month of December!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 2nd January Game Review

The first game of 2012 was preceded by a trip to MK for the Phoenix on the 30th December:

MK 1 Phoenix 4 - Phoenix Article
MK 1 Phoenix 4 - CB Sport

The Phoenix came into this game on the back of a three game winning run, the Bees are an improved side this year. Mainly through the acquisitions of Masa and Smital from Guildford. Despite this, this game should be one the Phoenix look to win every night. So far in the EPL the Bees have played the Phoenix 7 times and are yet to register a point. As ever, records are there to be broken!

First Period: The game began, much like many against the Bees in Altrincham do, with lots of Phoenix pressure, and little for the Bees. Despite being camped in the Bees zone the Phoenix could not find an early way past Carl Ambler in net, Ambler playing out of his skin and seeing the puck like a football. The Bees were not completely shutout in the period, Martin Masa and Lukas Smital lead their charge and carved out a few chances of their own. If one stat could show the domination, the Phoenix had 17 shots on goal during the period. Credit to the Bees they kept the Phoenix mainly to the outside and swept up any rebounds quickly.

Second Period: The home crowd were stunned when the Bees took the lead just 66sec into the period when Scott Spearing, who some thought should not even be on the ice, scored. This was a goal I think Foney will want back. The Phoenix re-doubled their efforts and continued their domination of the game. Thankfully the breakthrough was made just after the half hour mark. A shot by Faith was tipped by Koulikov to bring the Phoenix level scoring at 32min 38sec. Just 4 minutes later the Phoenix took the lead when Spelda unleashed a rocket from the blue line, Ambler had no chance. The Phoenix went into the second intermission 2-1 up, had it not been for Ambler the Phoenix could have been out of sight!

Third Period: The Phoenix pressure continued in the third period, the theme continued with Ambler in amazing form. The Phoenix could not complain with the number of chances they were getting, but none seemed to be of good enough quality. The chances were not being taken, and in true storybook fashion, what happens when a team leading 2-1 fails to take its chances? That's right, the opposition equalise! Lukas Smital getting the game levelling goal after excellent hard work on the boards, he fired past Fone who had no clue where the puck was! No further goals came and, like Sheffield before, the game was headed for an extra session.

Overtime: The OT period started and the Phoenix blasted out the blocks, going straight to the Bees zone the Phoenix pressured the net and, just 36 seconds into the OT period the puck was cycled round to Koulikov who blasted the puck past Ambler, Giving the Phoenix the 3-2 victory.

Verdict: A strange game, utter domination from the Phoenix, and yet it was a hard ground out type of win. In reality, had it not been for the heroics from Ambler in goal this game could have seen double figures from the Phoenix. The only downside for me, was the wasted opportunities. Had the Phoenix been playing a Slough or Guildford the result could well have been different!

Attendance: Not quite the same bumper crowd as against Sheffield but a good one none-the-less, i'll guess at around 1,200 in.

Phoenix 3 Bracknell 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Bracknell 2 - CB Sport
Phoenix 3 Bracknell 2 - Bees Article

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 27th December Game Review

The Sheffield Steeldogs came to town to kick off the Phoenix festive run, two home games and a trip to MK covered the period coming off the back of the great win against MK. Steeldog games are no longer easy ones for the Phoenix and this boxing day encounter would prove to be a classic. The biggest crowd of the season gathered to blow the christmas cobwebs out their system and enjoy a hard fought night of hockey in Altrincham.

First Period: With the Ice Dome jumping both teams got at it and it was clear this would be another tough physical battle. The two sides exchanged early chances and Fone/Bowns were found in good form. Sadly for the home crowd the Steeldogs would get the jump on the Phoenix and race to a two goal lead. Ex Telford Tiger Ashley Calvert got the Dogs first goal, then Edgar Bebris doubled their lead on 11min 19sec. the home side pushed hard, buoyed on by the Phoenix faithful only to be denied by the hardworking Steeldogs. The first period ended 2-0 Dogs but shots on goal were even.

Second Period: The first intermission looked to have boosted the Phoenix. The first was dominated by the Dogs on the scoreboard, the second period was all Phoenix. Early on in the period Martin Cingel got the home side on the board, only for Stuart Brittle to restore Sheffield's two goal advantage. The trade of goals happened once more when Slava Koulikov scored for the Phoenix only for Brittle to score his second at the half hour mark to, once again, restore the advantage. The Phoenix pressed hard and the Ice Dome exploded when the Phoenix got on level terms towards the end of the period. Ciaran Long scored a superb effort, and a just reward for his hard work in the game so far. Then Wallace lifted the roof with a superb top shelf wrister from the face off circle at 38min 43sec.

Third Period: No goals came from the last session, but plenty of pressure and talking points did. Ex Phoenix favorite Pavel Gomeniuk was ejected from the game for a late hit on Ciaran Long. This 10min penalty coupled with an earlier misconduct penalty saw him ejected from the game. Plenty of big hits were thrown and chances given, but Fone and Bowns were in no mood to concede the winner. As the period ticked by the Phoenix had a few PP opportunities but could not find the net.

Overtime: The extra session could not separate the sides and the Phoenix had to kill off some penalty trouble towards the end of the 5 minutes. Both sides deserved to take a point from the game, it would now be down to penalties to see who got the win.

Penalty Shots: Never liked penalty shots and never will! Having said that, the Phoenix started brilliantly with Koulikov and Faith, taking the same route up ice, to score. With Sheffield missing their first chance, it was advantage Phoenix. Greg Wood scored for Sheffield and then Wallace missed the game winning penalty shot. So all down to Bebris vs Fone and BT came up big in blanking for the Phoenix!

Verdict: Great game, great win for the Phoenix in front of a big big crowd in the Ice Dome. Sheffield are a team I will not enjoy losing too, for the simple fact in how they go about playing hockey. Gomeniuk's actions in the game were horrible, Greg Wood is turning into a little ****, which is a shame as he played brilliantly for the Phoenix. As said further up, both teams deserved a point from the game, the Phoenix deserved the win!

Attendance: Biggest of the season, so i'll guess at 1,700+

Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - CB Sport
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 4 - Steeldogs Article