Last weekend was a pretty big one for the Phoenix in the early stages of this EPL season. An away/home double header against last seasons EPL champions. Games between the two clubs are always damn good entertainment and there is some real quality hockey played. For these weekends I would always want at least two points, preferably a home win. Anything more is a bonus.
The game down in Guildford was a surprise, the Phoenix came away with a 4-2 win with the last one being an ENG. Going into the game the Flames were suffering from a bit of a wobble in terms of form so, perhaps, the Phoenix caught them at the right time! Sundays home game would see one of two things, the Phoenix would grind out another win for a brilliant 4 point weekend or, the Flames would subject the Phoenix to a backlash and restore parity in the weekend. The latter having happened before!
Highlights of the Flames v Phoenix game:
So, sunday rolls round and it's off to the Ice Dome for the #PyroDerby!
First Period: As has become the norm for games against the Flames the opening was tight, fast and end to end. With Fone and Lee called upon early to prevents goals going in. Both sides were playing some flowing hockey that would convert any newbie into a hockey fan. Just listen to the podcast for the guy who was attending his first game! Games like these will often be decided on a slip or mistake and the first goal came from one. I think it was Schnabel down on the boards in the Flames zone who coughed up the puck and the Flames broke down ice. Some lovely passing saw the puck find Huppe who unleashed a beautiful one time to beat Fone. This goal would be the only of the period, despite the Phoenix applying heavy pressure to the Flames goal.
Second Period: The game started to heat up (pun intended) in the second period, and most of the chances were falling to the Phoenix as they worked to get on level terms. The first Phoenix goal did come and fell to Scott McKenzie at 26min 38sec, the goal a deserved reward for his hard work in the game. Less than 4 minutes later the Phoenix took the lead. Psurny adding to his tally and early season form with a goal at 30min 32sec. The Flames, once again, proved their quality when Rempel leveled the game to ensure the Phoenix didn't take the game in the second session. Both goals came from lapses in Phoenix concentration which, no doubt, Tony Hand will be disappointed with.
Third Period: The third period resumed as both sides went in search of the winner. Mark Lee and Stephen Fone were both putting in stellar performances to keep the puck out, you could argue Lee was having to do more work but, he was still keeping the puck out. The Phoenix kept up the pressure and were rewarded at 47min 11sec when Psurny got his second of the game. With the Phoenix ahead and the clock winding down the Flames began to up their intensity. They became more physical and began to try a few more risky plays for the leveler With less than a minute to go they would snatch a dramatic equalizer when Hemmings forced the puck past Fone to tie the game with 54 seconds to go.
Overtime: The 4 on 4 period included a penalty kill for the Phoenix with Schnabel in the box. Despite a few hairy moments the Phoenix managed to kill off the penalty and exert some of their own pressure. With a fortunate bounce the Phoenix attacked and Flaten was found free on goal and scored the winner. The Ice Dome erupted and the Phoenix completed a brilliant 4 point weekend over the Flames.
Verdict: What a game, any newbie in last night will be hooked! The game was fast, skilful, end to end and, more importantly, a quality hockey game between two title challenging sides. The Flames will be disappointed to come out of this weekend dropping 3 points to a title rival. How important they could be come the seasons end. The Phoenix played their best hockey sunday night, Psurny and Flaten continue to impress and the rest of the team are really catching form now.
Attendance: Flames games tend to bring extra fans through the door so I will say around 1,100 in.
Guildford 2 Phoenix 4 - Phoenix Article
Guildford 2 Phoenix 4 - Flames Article
Phoenix 4 Guildford 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Guildford 3 - Flames Article