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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

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