With no away game saturday night the Phoenix had a rare night off. The Slough Jets were the visitors to the Ice Dome which also saw the return of Slava 'Dave' Koulikov and Ladislav Harabin. Slough are a strong team again this year and the Phoenix would have to be at their best to take anything from the game. The Phoenix welcomed back Tom Duggan after his weekend off with a twisted knee and, the Phoenix remained without long term injured Liam Chong.
First Period: The Phoenix opened the game with some early dominance, which was encouraging. What was frustrating, was the lack of clear chances close in to Rockman. Despite the early chances the Jets were first to score. Capitalising on yet another stray Phoenix pass in the Jets zone, Pliskauskas was set free and finished with a beut of a shot high into Fone's top right corner. The period continued the Phoenix having most of the chances but, none of real quality. Rockman will stop head on shots all day, the Phoenix needed to get in close and work a dirty goal. The other thing of note in the first period was, the officiating. Im never comfortable in criticizing the officials as, I know I couldn't do it myself. The shocking thing in the game so far, was how poor the linesmen were. Even in the first period there were numerous calls where the lines people were not sure, sadly this would continue through the game.
Second Period: The second continued as the first left off, the teams traded end to end chances but both Fone and Rockman were up to the task. The second line for the Phoenix continued to be the highlight, the third with the energy and the first...well...that depended on Tony Hand. Hand was and has not clicked yet and, so far in this game, was poor again. Flaten and Psurny were working hard but Tony's passing was far below his standard.
Third Period: With the second period goaless, the Phoenix had 20 minutes to get a goal. With Slough beginning to tire the Phoenix pressure continued to grow. The first line began to click and Flaten/Psurny were getting in close to Rockman. I did worry that, even if the Phoenix were to score, Slough had the quality on the ice to come right back and get a second. For 57 minutes of the game the Phoenix had no luck. With three to go the hockey gods finally reversed that and, with a Jets d man slipping on the blue line, James Archer was clear in on goal to level the game at 57min 17sec. The clock wound down and with no further goals, we went to overtime.
Overtime: 4 on 4 opened up the Ice and the Phoenix imports started to exploit the extra space. The luck that came to the Phoenix late in the third continued into overtime. Tony Hand had the puck in the far corner and, with a Jets D man slipping again he was able to approach the net and fire a pass across to the un-makred Psurny on the far post to give the Phoenix the winner. Goal timed 62min 29sec.
Verdict: A game where the Phoenix dominated but had no luck right up until the death. What has been a constant in the Phoenix home games so far is, the Phoenix are able to control the vast majority of the game, but opposition squads cram the hash marks and frustrate the Phoenix attack. Each team has been content to sit back and hit us on the break. Its frustrating to watch, im glad the Phoenix won as we need to build up some momentum to keep in touch at the top. For me, Tony Hand's form still worries me, while Flaten and Psurny are improving game by game, their success can depend on being fed by Hand. (bdum tsch) I feel sorry for the Slough fans, they looked like stopping the Phoenix for the full 60 and yet Slough lost. Although many will still say the point gained is worth the trip.
Attendance: A few extra in the Ice Dome, i'll guess at 1,100 in.
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