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.
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