The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 25th November Game Review

A tough weekend for the Phoenix saw them make the  trip south to Swindon and then welcome the Basingstoke Bison to the Ice Dome. Swindon has never been an easy place for the Phoenix to go and saturday saw them experience a 4-2 loss, despite taking the lead twice. With the Bison next up, and with how they play in mind, this could be the first null point weekend!

First Period: As the game got underway the farmiliar patter emerged, Phoenix with the puck, most of the possession but restricted to long shots and no whiff of goal. The Bison were employing the same tactic as their last visit to the Ice Dome and, it was working a treat. The Bison sat back to defend and rely on Lyle, while looking to hit the Phoenix on the breakout. It worked so well that the Bison took the lead after just 1min 22sec when Owen got his first of the night. The Bison extended their lead after 15min 53sec when Owen scored again on the powerplay.

Second Period: The second continued as the first had left off, the Phoenix far outshooting the Bison but not getting in Lyle's face of causing him much trouble. Around the halfway mark of the period the Bison scored a lovely breakaway goal with Csesky tapping in to an open net after 30min 29sec. For me, that was game over. It was a beautiful goal and I couldn't see the Phoenix getting 4 to win. Even when Flaten finally got the Phoenix on the board at 36min 3xsec it still looked a tall order.

Third Period: The Phoenix finally changed tactic in the third and began get in Lyle's face and upset him. This period would also see a very controversial incident which has been talked about on twitter and the forums for the past few days. Anyway, the game, the Phoenix got their second of the game through Psurny at 50min 28sec which got them within one but, the Bison hit right back. At 50min 42sec Rand extended their lead to 4-2 and looked to have secured the points. Phoenix hopes were lifted when James Archer got their third at 54min 26sec and the Phoenix kept up the pressure to force OT. With around a minute to go the Phoenix thought they had scored, the puck was in the light was on and yet the ref washed it off. Many in the stands, myself included, saw Lyle kick the net off its moorings after the puck had gone in. I know there are plenty who will disagree but I know what I saw. The Phoenix had been robbed of a perfectly good goal and, a disgraceful action by Lyle. A keeper I had much respect for! Anyway the goal did not stand and the game ended 4-3 Bison.

Verdict: For two periods the Bison played as expected and were heading for another comfortable win. The third period the Phoenix finally got through to Lyle and started to make it count. On balance, however, the Bison deserved the win, but not the fasion they got it! Lyle disgraced them sunday night, that is sure! Putting that aside, it is difficult to look past the Bison for EPL winners this year, while there are better skater teams in the EPL in Lyle they have a goalie on another level. For me, now, it is their title to loose.

Attendance: A decent, but not the biggest, crown in the Ice Dome. I'll say 1,100 in.

Phoenix 3 Bison 4 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 3 Bison 4 - Bison Article

Monday, 26 November 2012

Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats 18th November Game Review

After the Phoenix win against the Phantoms they had two away games to follow. The first, away to Telford in their re-furbished rink which The Angry Budgie attended. That was a disappointing loss and one that showed the effect of losing Tony Hand to Team GB. The second away game was to re-visit the scene of the Phoenix earlier 8-2 demolition at MK. Thankfully this visit would be more fruitful for the Phoenix, winning as they did, 4-1. The Wildcats were the visitors to the Ice Dome last sunday and, so far, the Phoenix were enjoying some good form against the Wildcats. Hopefully that would continue!

First Period: With Tony Hand back in the line-up the Phoenix came out firing and set about the Wildcats from the first puck drop. Again the Phoenix would get an early goal and they would dominate the opening session. The first goal came after just 1min 47sec when Pozivil got his goal. Shortly after Michael Psurny doubled the Phoenix lead at 3min 50 and Ciaran Long would cap an explosive first period with the Phoenix third goal at 11min 10sec. Even the most ardent Wildcats fan, after watching that first period, would say the game was done and dusted.

Second Period: That assumption, especially this season in the EPL, is a dangerous one. The Wildcats, after what must have been a harsh intermission, found their legs and began to work their way back into the game. Tom Duggan would extend the Phoenix lead to 4 goals to 0 at 23min 36sec with a lovely shot through the 5 hole. I don't know if it was the Phoenix easing off, but the Wildcats came roaring back and completely owned the last 10 minutes of the period. Kapicka got their first at 31min 58sec, then Jones on the powerplay at 37min 20sec and Kapicka got his second at 38min 25sec when he pounced on a Boothroyd mistake to bring the Cats to within one.

Third Period: With the way the game had gone in the back end of the second period it would be no surprise that the Wildcats tied the game in the final session. The Phoenix were still creating chances but the uncertainty in the Wildcats D from the first period had well and truly gone. The Wildcats got their deserved game leveler at 52min 07sec when Kapicka got his hattrick goal. The Phoenix discipline in the third period was poor, mistakes were creeping their way in and were capped by the Phoenix taking a too-many-men penalty with 10sec to go. Thus handing Swindon the advantage going into overtime.

Overtime: Thankfully the Wildcats could not take advantage and as soon as the Phoenix were back up to full strength they camped out in the Swindon zone. Working the puck round it found Boothroyd free on the far point in so much space, he had time to steady the puck and fire in the game winner, timed at 62min 23sec.

Verdict: On the whole the Phoenix dominated the first, but a lack of concentration and a resurgent Wildcats made the second and third tough to watch. Especially as the game should have been over after the first. Great to get the win and keep pace with the Bison but, worrying to see Fone laboring towards the end and Pozivil who didn't ice for the third period. A week off will hopefully do wonders!

Attendance: Another good crowd in the Dome, the sequence of home wins doing well to bring people back. I'll say 1,150 in.

Phoenix 5 Swindon 4 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 5 Swindon 4 - Wildcats Article

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms 10th November Game Review

The weekend just gone saw the Phoenix play in Altrincham on a rare saturday night fixture before travelling down to Shropshire to take on the Tigers sunday. A big crowd descended on the Ice Dome with hopes of a Phoenix victory, going into the game the Phoenix were without Tony Hand who was at the helm of Team GB in Japan.

First Period: The game opened up with the, Tony Handless Phoenix, taking the bull by the horns and exploding out the traps. Within the first 30seconds the Phoenix were on the board and ahead in the game. Flaten with the first score after just 27 seconds. Sometimes early goals are good, sometimes they are not. The early goal settled the Phoenix as they set about the Phantoms. This Phantoms team work hard and in Lauko, much like his time in Bisonland, they have a player who seems to score regularly against the Phoenix. Lauko pulled the Phantoms level after 14min 05sec. No further score and the teams headed into the intermission level at 1-1.

Second Period: The Phoenix began to take control in the second period. The next goal of the game came for the Phoenix at 21min 04sec when Robert Schnabel took a bullet of a shot from the blue line to give the Phoenix the lead, the big Czech D man was at it again when he got his second at 23min 12sec.. With 5 minutes to go in the period the Phoenix extended their lead through the in form Andy McKinnie when he got the Phoenix 3rd goal at 35min 46sec. End of the period scores on the doors were 4-1 Phoenix.

Third Period: Things went a bit mental in the third period, the Phoenix began to loose focus and the Phantoms slowly fought their way back into the game. McKinnie got his second of the game about two minutes into the period to make it 5-1 Phoenix and here began the Phantoms fight back. While on the powerplay Ferrara scored at 44min 57sec. The most frustrating thing about the goal was, the Phoenix had failed so far on their PP and, as soon as Peterborough got a PP opportunity, they scored. The Phoenix got one to add to their tally from Long at 48min 57sec to make it 6-2, but this sparked the Phantoms into life. 3 un-answered goals brought the Phantoms within one goal of the Phoenix. Glowa got the Phantoms 3rd at 45min 33sec then Carlon reduced the deficit to two at 50min 36sec. Then, with less than 5 minutes to go the Phantoms ensured some 'squeaky bum time' when they grabbed number 5 at 55min 14sec when Glowa got another. This goal incensed the crowd and Schnabel. Prior to the goal Ciaran Long laid a lovely hip check on a Phantoms player but, was called for clipping. Schanbel had words and then, when the Phantoms scored, lost it and got himself ejected on an abuse of official call. With the clock ticking down the Phantoms pressed for the equaliser but, the Phoenix would grab the last goal of the game. James Archer getting a just reward at 59min 18sec.

Verdict: Not the best of games for the Phoenix, at times they were brilliant, at times they were stupid. Schanbel, as the most experienced guy on the ice for the Phoenix let himself down during the last 5 minutes which could have hurt us badly. The Phantoms are a tricky opponent and the Phoenix coped well but, did look to miss Tony's calming influence at times. It's quite noticeable how much focus he brings to the dressing room.

Attendance: Very good crowd for a saturday night game, i'll guess at around 1,200 in.

Phoenix 7 Peterborough 5 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 7 Peterborough 5 - Phantoms Article 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 28th October Game Review

Halloween weekend saw the Phoenix take on the Slough Jets and the Bracknell Bees. My thoughts going into the weekend would be, a tough game down in Slough and a win at home against the Bees. The Phoenix surprised many people with a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Jets, including scoring 4 un-answered goals to take the win. This set the weekend off to the best possible start!

The home game, while on paper the Phoenix should win, would not be easy. The Bees still have Smital and Masa, two of the best players in the EPL and have increased their muscle this year, early season reports have the Bees down as a much tougher team to play.

First Period: The game got underway and the Phoenix took control. Following on from a two goal/1 assist performance down in Slough, Andy McKinnie continued his recent scoring streak by netting the Phoenix first goal at 6min 57sec. McKinnie's goal capping a lovely flowing move up the ice from the Phoenix. Throughout this first period I was surprised by how poor the Bees were, those early season reports had obviously inflated my expectations of them. The Phoenix continued to dominate and the second goal was inevitable. The face off was down in the Bees zone, the puck went back to Schabel on the point who let rip with a gorgeous slap shot to the top right corner, lovely goal. The Phoenix finished the period strong with Psurny getting their third with just 10sec left on the clock.

Second Period: The Bees regrouped during the interval, it showed too! The second period was much more of a contest, the Bees were working harder and competing stronger for each possession.  In fact it was the Bees who scored the next goal. A great bit of passing opened up some space and the puck found Lamey ghosting in on the back post to slot the puck home. At this point the Phoenix looked like they were playing in neutral and really needed to engage gear to win the game. Thankfully they did, got the next goal, to restore their three goal advantage. Ciaran Long scoring next at 32min 40sec. That would be the last scoring of the period, end of the 2nd 4-1 Phoenix.

Third Period: Just 20 minutes to go and the Phoenix came out strong. The second period resistance by the Bees seemed to disappear. The Phoenix controlled the puck and a blistering two goal salvo killed the game off. Psurny got his second of the night at 48min 19sec and, just 16sec later Richie Bentham capped an impressive game for himself with the Phoenix sixth goal at 48min 35sec. With the score now 6-1 to the Phoenix the Bees called a timeout and decided to replace Annettes for Ambler, at the same time the Phoenix gave Fone his rest and brough El-Hage in for the remaining 10minutes or so. With the game winding down only one further goal came, and that was Psurny's hattrick goal. The final goal of the game timed at 53min 54sec.

Verdict: Given me impressions of the Bees, coming into the game, I was surprised by how far they fell below my expectations. The Bees we good, but I had the impression they were a tough cookie to beat this year. Masa and Smital, when they turn it on, are still a class act. But they didn't show enough sunday night at all. The Phoenix, on the other hand, were very impressive. In control for the majority of the game each player played well. Fone will be disappointed to loose the SO but very happy with the win.

Attendance: A good crowd in the dome, with some in fancy dress - including myself! I'll say around 1,100 in the Ice Dome.

Slough 5 Phoenix 7 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 7 Bees 1 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 7 Bees 1 - Bees Article
Phoenix 7 Bees 1 - MEN Article