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