After the Guildford four point weekend the Phoenix were on a bit of a roll, that roll would be severely tested against the Bison (away) and MK (home). In the two games played against the Bison the Phoenix have struggled to solve the Lyle problem, they do enough and get enough pucks on him but have not scored past the fine keeper to date. Saturday night, sadly, saw the Phoenix lose 3-1, on the bright side they did score!
Next up, the not so insignificant task of overcoming the MK lightning. Usually the Phoenix do well against MK however, the Phoenix have had the customary blowout down in MK. With that out the way it as time for revenge back at the Ice Dome.
First Period: The game opened with the Phoenix taking the initiative and reigning shots on Alex Mettam who, didn't look too secure. Moving around his goal he gave up plenty of re-bounds and, at times, looked quite shaky. With the early pressure it was no surprise the Phoenix took the lead. McKinnie scoring with just 5min 07sec gone. MK do have some dangerous players and in Nick Poole they have a great hockey mind in their midst. With Calder and Emersic they have two of the leagues most potent forwards. Thankfully the Phoenix were working hard to limit their chances on the puck but, even when MK did get through, Fone was there playing a blinder. The main talking point of the period was a match penalty assessed to Ciaran Long for a check to the head. This was unfortunate as it looked a brilliant hit but, as in the words of the Phoenix podcast disclaimer, the word of the official is law!
Second Period: This game was going to be much tighter than the two clubs first encounter but, I always thought the Phoenix just had the edge. MK began to up the intensity and, with the ref being the ref's usual diabolical self, the teams began to trade powerplays. MK slowly clambered their way back into the game and began to exert some pressure on the Phoenix defense. That pressure was to be rewarded when Leigh Jamieson leveled the scores at 38min 41sec. The back and forth nature of the game continued with MK shading the period by the end of the session.
Third Period: After the second intermission it seemed the Phoenix had re-grouped, they took the game by the scruff of the neck and went in search of the go ahead goal. Thankfully, it came, at 48min 20sec. McKenzie, breaking down the left wing saw McKinnie free on the other side and found him with a sweet pass, McKinnie in acres of space coolly slotted home for a gorgeous goal. As many of you readers will know, MK have skill in their team, they would level the game, again, at 54min 09sec while on the powerplay. The Lightning cycling the puck round the Phoenix zone found Carr who scored a lovely goal to tie the scores at 2-2-.
Overtime: The game went to OT after no further goals were scored. With 4 on 4 the game opened up and a few more chances were created, but with Mettam and Fone turning aside all shots the game was to go to a penalty shootout.
Penalty Shots: The first time these had been seen at the Ice Dome so far this season and the Phoenix won. Psurny stepped up first and lifted a great shot above the sprawling Mettam. No other player could score, with MK missing all their three, Fone standing tall and turning away all he faced the Phoenix won and took the extra point.
Verdict: The Phoenix played well and deserved to take the W but, I don't begrudge MK taking a point from the game. The biggest plus from the weekend was ensuring the points column kept ticking over for the Phoenix. Another good win in the Ice Dome and a win that exorcises the big loss suffered down in MK.
Attendance: Buoyed by some groups in the Ice Dome i'll guess at around 1,100 in.
Phoenix 3 MK 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 MK 2 - MEN Article