The Angry Budgie Live

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats 8th April Playoff Game Review

The regular season is consigned to the memory, its now all about the playoffs! After securing second place in the league campaign the Phoenix now had to turn their attentions to the small matter of a playoff quarter final against the in-form Swindon Wildcats. They are a team the Phoenix have struggled with, especially down in Swindon, for the early part of the year. Thankfully the Phoenix had started to turn that around and, on their last visit to Swindon, came away with a win. Could they do it again?
Thankfully they could, to have any chance in this series the Phoenix needed to come out of Swidon with at least a tie or only with a one goal deficit. They did even better, and came out the weekend with a 2-1 lead. Who fancies doing it all again in Altrincham then?
First Period: The Phoenix started the game with a point to prove, Swindon may be the form team but, the Phoenix are even better. The early stages were dominated by the Phoenix. The home side shutting down the likes of Nell and Hoog. The early tension was eased when the Phoenix got the early lead, James Archer was found in some space at the hash marks to fire a quick snapshot to give the Phoenix the lead. That goal coming at the 8min mark. The goal really settled the Phoenix and they continued to dictate the game. Swindon were contributing to the game in a big way, putting up a stern wall for the Phoenix to get through. They worked hard, protected their goalie but, maybe because of this, didn't offer much in the Phoenix zone. That being said, when they did get a chance on goal they found Fone in awesome form.
Second Period: The second period continued where the first left off, with the Phoenix continuing to pressure the Swindon goal. The first ten minutes of the period would effectively seal the game and the Phoenix progression to Coventry. Tom Duggan found Archer with a lovely breakout pass early after the re-start and Archer got his second of the game at 21min 03sec. Giving the Phoenix a three goal cushion over the two legs. As the game continued Swindon upped the aggresion and the Phoenix responded. In fact, it was a response that would get the Phoenix another goal. With a man in the penalty box Tom Duggan grabbed a short handed goal when the Wildcats play broke down on the blue line. 3-0 Phoenix on the night after 27min 12sec. The tie was assured two minutes later when Stephen Wallace got the Phoenix fourth at 29min 12sec.
Third Period: After the awesome atmosphere in the first/second period the third was a little flat. The game, 4-0 Phoenix and 5-1 over the two legs was over and the two clubs played out the last 20 minutes with less intensity. The odd chance was created, and the Cats swapped netties for the final session, but no goals came from the final period. With two minutes to go the crowd rose to its feet to salute the Phoenix and warm up for Coventry,
Verdict: A very slippy potential banana skin avoided over these two games. The first leg down in Swindon had a massive effect on the weekend. I think the Wildcats believed a win down at the link centre could hand them the tie. But the Phoenix win, and early goal in the first period killed off a lot of their momentum. That being said the first two periods in Altrincham saw some brilliant hockey. Swindon were good, but the Phoenix were better.
Attendance: A good crowd for the final home game, i'll say 1,400 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 4 Swindon 0 - CB Sport

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