After many many weeks, and 52 games the final weekend of EPL regular season hockey was upon us! The Phoenix went into the double header with the Phantoms needing a point to secure second place and a probable quarter final match up with the Swindon Wildcats. The pair of games, going by the league table, should be a formality but, with the Phantoms scraping for the 8th and final post season spot, there was quite a lot riding on both games.
The weekend began with the Phoenix going
across to Peterborough, the same day/venue they tried to win the EPL league
title a year ago. As with the game last year it was a tough one which saw
the Phantoms take the win. However the result was 5-4 after overtime which,
bar any disasters on the final game day, secured second place for the Phoenix.
Much sooner than anyone hoped the final
game of the season arrived sunday afternoon, another big crowd assembled
at the Ice Dome to take in the final 60mins of regular season hockey at
the Ice Dome for the 2011/12 season.
First Period: The Phantoms are a tough
side to play, and with an incentive to play for, they are a much tougher
proposition to play in March/April than in the first half of the season.
That being said the Phantoms, despite what was on the line for them, didn't
offer much in the opening exchanges. In fact the Phoenix took the lead
after 4min 36sec when Wallace found a gap to the left of the goal to light
the lamp. As the session wore on the Phoenix continued to dominate, when
the Phantoms did manage a shot on goal they found Fone in outstanding form.
Second Period: Much like the first really, the Phoenix kept up the pressure/dominance
while the Phantoms looked a little ineffective given what they had on the
line. King, in the Phantoms goal continued to perform heroics and keep
the Phoenix out, but he was facing a serious amount of rubber! The Phoenix
continued to press and were rewarded again with a powerplay goal just before
the end of the second period. Juraj Faith scoring the Phoenix second at
38min 22sec. This goal caused King to throw the toys well and truly out
the pram with one of the most impressive tantrums seen at the Ice Dome.
Despite the puck crossing the line King was so incensed he proceeded to
mock the goal judge washing the plexi in front of him. A bit stupid and
dis-respectful and, had the referee seen it, would have earned him a misconduct
penalty for sure.
Third Period: This period saw the Phoenix
almost throw the game away! The Phantoms continued to battle and the Phoenix
eased off and, within 35 seconds the Phantoms were on level terms, shocking
the home fans. The first for the Phantoms came at 45min 32sec through Lauko
and the second at 46min 07sec from Luke Ferrara let a wicked wrister fly
past Fone. 2-2 with 14minutes to go, the game was now a whole lot different!
Thankfully, the Phantoms fight back spurred the Phoenix on. They re-grouped,
re-focused and got back to the early game form. The Phoenix continued to
press and got the breakthrough on the powerplay. At 57min 47sec the puck
was cycled round the boards and then passed to Archer at the hashmarks
who let fly with a quick/hard shot that went through King into the goal.
The Ice Dome erupted and the Phoenix had the advantage. One that they would
hold onto and see out the game.
Verdict: A tough, well fought win and
one the Phoenix deserved. The Phoenix got the win and with other results
meant the Phoenix were safe in second place by 4 points. Overall the Phoenix
coped well with the Phantoms, but I must admit, the Phantoms disappointed
a little. They seemed comfortable in their own zone but going forward didn't
offer much. Which given what they were fighting for was surprising. In
the end they got the win saturday night and the Bees did them a favour
by losing, so the Phantoms got the 8th spot.
Attendance: I'll say 1,500 in the Ice
Final thought: In a Jerry Springer stylee,
I will expand on this in a later post, I wanted to say how proud I am of
the Phoenix. At no point during this EPL season have the Phoenix iced a
full roster. With all the injuries all season, to finish second and get
close to the Flames is a massive achievement for the guys. I can only wonder
what they could have done with a full, fit and healthy roster on the ice!
Phoenix 3 Phantoms 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Phantoms 2 - Phantoms Article
Phoenix 3 Phantoms 2 - CB Sport