The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 16th September Game Review

After the disappointment of loosing the 'War of the Roses' cup the Phoenix had to dust themselves down and get ready for the opening weekend of the 2012/13 season. This year the opening weekend would be a tough one away to Swindon, traditionally a place where the Phoenix have struggled, then home to the Basingstoke Bison. The away game in Swindon proved to be another tight game, after going down 2-0 early in the game the Phoenix fought back and tied the game 2-2. Overtime couldnt separate them so penalty shots it was. New boy Psurny scored amongst the Phoenix shooters and the Phoenix headed back north with a 3-2 win after penalty shots. A wet sunday saw the Phoenix masses assemble for the EPL campaign against a vastly different Bison team the highlight of which, perhaps, was the debut EPL season for Stevie Lyle. One of the best British goalies to take to the ice, it's a little strange as to why he couldn't remain in the EIHL but im sure Bison fans don't care a jot!

First Period: Off we go and what a difference to last week. This was a hockey game! Games between the Phoenix/Bison have always been good/competitive hockey games and good adverts for EPL hockey. The early stages were faily even as both sides found their footing but, as the period progressed the Phoenix began to dominate. In a theme that would repeat throughout the Phoenix dominated possession but were restricted to long shots which Lyle will save in his sleep. The Bison were working very hard at keeping the hash marks clear and sweeping away the numerous rebounds given by Lyle. The first goal came for the Bison, against the run of play, after the Phoenix got into penalty trouble. After the Phoenix had wasted a few PP opportunities it was somewhat embarrassing how quickly the Bison scored on their first. Granted it was a 5 on 3 but the Bison must have scored just 5 sec after the second Phoenix player went into the box! The goalscorer was Greg Owen the goal coming at 13min 24sec. The rest of the period saw the Phoenix press for an equalizer but none came.

Second Period: The second session was much like the first, the Phoenix with all the possession and chances but nothing clear cut and no goals! It was good to see the Phoenix playing so well, and seeing Psurny show his wares, he is another brilliant find!, but frustrating to see no clear chances come to the home side. The hashmarks again were kept clear and the Phoenix struggled to get near and pick up the rebounds coming from Lyle.

Third Period: The Phoenix had to score, we had now gone 5 periods at home without scoring, you can imagine the relief when the Phoenix did finally get on the board. At 43min 09sec the Phoenix advanced down the left, Archer drops the puck back to McKenzie who lets rip with a wicked shot through the 5 hole. Lyle completely screened by Archer and the Bison D. As the game progressed and the Phoenix pushed for the winner, the Bison would break home fans hearts and score their second. Joe Greener scoring after 51min 03sec. A few more frustrating Phoenix powerplays followed with not a hint of a goal and the clock wound down to condemn the Phoenix to a loss.

Verdict: A much easier loss to take this one, as it was a damn good game of hockey! On balance of play the Bison didn't deserve to win but, they worked hard on D and Lyle stood on his head. 45 shots on him and he only conceded one, he won the game for the Bison. The Phoenix played well but it was concerning how we couldn't get close to Lyle and pick up any rebounds. This was very much a  winnable game! Nevermind!

Attendance: About 1,100 in the Ice Dome

Phoenix 1 Bison 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 1 Bison 2 - Bison Article

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 9th September Game Review (War of the Roses)

After a long long summer Ice Hockey is back! The new look Phoenix returned to the ice for the, now traditional, war of the roses series against the Sheffield Steeldogs. Leg one, over in Sheffield, took place thursday night and the Steeldogs come into Altrincham holding a 3-2 lead in the tie. A big crowd turned up, in the sun, to the Ice Dome to see hostilities renewed!  

First Period: The first period showed that this new Phoenix team will not be bullied on the ice. Flaten and Kuulivainen have strength and skill. Schnabel on D is a monster and can make players turn with the shake of a head. McKenzie looks just as good as he did playing for Telford. The Phoenix look good, but a little rusty when compared to Sheffield. The Steeldogs, who had played 3 games before coming into the series, looked at full speed. The Phoenix were a bit down on their best so maybe 70%. That being said it was another physical encounter. Not too many clear chances being created but Sheffield, probably, had the better of the first period.  

Second Period: The second continued where the first left off but, with the Phoenix upping their game. The Phoenix slowly began to get through the Sheffield D, but only long range shots or shots from the side. The Sheffield defence is as organised this year, it seems, as they were last year. Sheffield began to offer less and less going forward but were, stubbornly, hold the Phoenix at bay. The second period passed with no goals, Sheffield still ahead on aggregate.

Third Period: For the third period, see the second. The Phoenix continued to pile on the pressure but still not clear cut chances emerged. As much as they tried they could not get through and get a decent chance on Dimitri in the Sheffield goal. As time ticked down the Steeldogs held on for the win and claimed the rose bowl. Celebrating like they had won the stanley cup!  

Verdict: I cannot begrudge the Steeldogs the bowl, they got the lead in Sheffield and worked hard to keep it. Sheffield will not surprise any EPL fan with their 2012/13 output. Remember how they played last season, there doing the same again. Sheffield will not score alot of goals but they will concede even less. Also, for any EPL fan thinking, now Bowns has gone the door to Sheffield's goal has now swung open, you'll be surprised. They will be as tough to score against again this season. As for the Phoenix, this team may not be as flashy as teams gone past but they will be tough, quicker and hard working. There were plenty of positives to come from sunday's game, im disappointed to lose the competition but, there are bigger cups to win!

Attendance: Really good crowd in the Ice Dome, especially as this one was not on the season ticket. I'll say about 1,100 in for the derby game

Phoenix 2 Sheffield 3 on aggregate - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 2 Sheffield 3 on aggregate - Steeldogs Article