After the Tigers came the Wildcats! Swindon were the next visitors to the Ice Dome and a team the Phoenix struggle against down in Wiltshire. The Wildcats can be a difficult team to beat and with Hoog/Nell they have two of the leagues best snipers. Both can hurt teams so, if you want to succeed it is vital to shut them down. So far this season the Phoenix have struggled with scoring, against Swindon this must be rectified!
First Period: The game was reffed by
Joy Tottman which, I think, may have been her first visit to the Ice Dome.
The Phoenix were quick from the start and applied early pressure to the
Wildcats. Despite previous games, where Phoenix have taken a while to get
the first goal, they were on the board after 6min 10sec when Ciaran Long
controlled the puck behind the Wildcats goal and, placed a lovely pass
out front to McKinney who gleefully scored. The early elation was tempered
as, in what would become a recurring theme, Hoog took advantage of a Phoenix
breakdown in the Swindon zone to race up ice and score the equaliser. Shortly
after it was the turn of the Phoenix to capitalise on a Swindon breakdown
when McKenzie got the second at 11min 32sec. Just after the midway point
of the period the Phoenix top line replicated the Phoenix first goal. This
time Tony Hand found Psurny out front and the Czech man scored the Phoenix
third at 12min 23sec. Swindon pulled a goal back when another giveaway,
this time by Tony Hand, gave Swindon's number 10 the puck and he passed
James Neil with ease to score. Neilzy won't like seeing that one back!
Second Period: The Phoenix continued
to control the game, Swindon were limited to the odd breakaway. The Phoenix
extended their lead at 26min 23sec when Luke Boothroyd continued his early
season scoring record when he netted on the powerplay. Ciaran Long added
another goal 90seconds later making it 5-2 on 27min 58sec. The Phoenix
continued to press and there came a long ish pause in proceedings when
Skinns took a full slapshot to the cage which clearly knocked the wind out
of him. Thankfully he dusted himself down, got up, and continued in the
game, top man! The Phoenix eased off in the game, which was dangerous given
Swindon's potent offence. Swindon continued to work hard and pulled a goal
back short handed when Nell took advantage of the Phoenix carelessness
to score Swindon's third goal.
Third Period: Swindon got the best of
starts when they latched on to a wayward Tony Hand pass, not for the first
time, and Nicky Watt scored their fourth to set up a tense final period.
The game continued as it had, with the Phoenix pressuring Swindon and Swindon
looking to capitalise on any sloppy passing for breakaway opportunities.
Towards the end of the period the Wildcats lack of scoring chances were
starting to frustrate them, as Nickey Watt displayed one of the best paddies
I have seen on the ice! A proper, two feet of the ice, its not fair jump!
Swidon did have the puck in the net with a minute to go but Tottman, correclty,
washed it out for a Swindon man in the crease.
Verdict: In the end the scoreline was
closer than the match. That being said Swindon capitalised, almost every
time, when the Phoenix lost concentration or let a sloppy wayward pass
go. For the Phoenix it was good to see so many different scorers on the
board and the first 4 point weekend of the season. Tony Hand has yet to
hit the highs of previous seasons and, he was poor in this game. Too many
giveaways and loose passes, James Neil succumbed too. He has set himself
high standards so far this season, but this game was an off night for him.
Which he can be forgiven for given how good he has been so far! Tony is
still quality, maybe its just his age causing him to start the season slowly.
The Phoenix managed to dominate the game, pleasingly, and all this we didn't
seem to miss the injured Duggan all weekend, which was a nice bonus!
I thought Joy Tottman reffed a good
game, apart from a bad call on a lovely clear ice hit by Ciaran Long but,
you could use the podcast ref disclaimer on that one!
Attendance: Crowd's have settled down
now and I would say another 1,000 ish crowd in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 5 Swindon 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Swindon 4 - MEN Article
Phoenix 5 Swindon 4 - Wildcats Article