The Angry Budgie Live

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Phoenix v MK Lightning 9th December Game Review

Going in to last weekend the Phoenix were having a bit of a wobble, having gone four games without a win and only one point to show for it. The weekend would also be the last, in Phoenix colours, for Scott McKenzie. After a mutual decision he was to leave and return to the Telford Tigers. His space on the roster being filled by Barrie McKenzie who joins the Phoenix from the Cardiff Devils. Personally, im gutted to lose Scott, while he had not been lighting the lamp with consistency he is a player who I was very please with joining the Phoenix. He stands out as a quality quality player on the Tigers lineup. 

Who knows the reasons for his leaving but, all his work and efforts while pulling on the Phoenix jersey were appreciated by us fans and, I hope we get to see him lace up his boots for the Phoenix in the future! 

MK are the  latest visitors to the Ice Dome and always provide a feisty opponent. They have a wily mind in Nick Poole and EPL veteran Nicky Chinn, MK are a team that is run on a tight ship and will always compete and give you a hard time. That being said I would always expect the Phoenix to close out a win on home ice to MK, famous last words and all that! Early team news for the Phoenix. Steve Fone, who sat out the previous nights win in Bracknell would also sit out this game to aid his recovery from a groin strain. Robert Schanbel, who left the Bracknell game due to injury would also miss this game. 

First Period: This was going to be a physical game, MK have a big squad and they use their size and strength well in their game plan. With Jorge in net for the Phoenix the home side had to work hard in defence to protect their young backup. Throughout the period the plan seemed to work and it was the Phoenix who had the majority of chances. With Stephen Wall in goal those chances were not close to scoring sadly, that man is immense in goal! MK did carve out their own chances but the Phoenix were able to limit those chances to long shots and, were fortunate MK's shooting was a little off. The first period ended with no goals and, if you can believe it, with the Phoenix putting 25 shots on Wall while Jorge faced 3! 

Second Period: The second continued much like the first but with MK ramping up their physicality and coming more into the game. The hits really were increasing in ferocity. There were some lovely centre ice hits from both teams and, despite some calls by my fellow Phoenix faithful I thought, for the most part, they were clean. The second followed the same pattern, big hits, shots reigning in on Wall and Jorge more than equal in the Phoenix net, so it will be no surprise to you there were no goals scored in the second period either. 

Third Period: With the game now coming down to one 20 minute session the stakes were high now, the first to score would, more than likely, win the game. So the hits got harder and the chances more important. 10 minutes passed with some entertaining hockey but a big lack of goals. The duck was finally broken at 52min 34sec when Psurny got in close on Wall and managed to lift the puck over his shoulder to light the lamp and give the Phoenix the lead. MK had to press now but were still not getting close. Either through good hard defending, Jorge being up to the task or the shots not being good enough. Into the last minute and both teams called time out's and, with the puck in the Phoenix zone, Wall went for the bench. The puck was sent up ice into MK's zone with Flaten in pursuit, we got there and centred for the on rushing Archer to tap in the ENG at 59min 12sec. Giving the home side a 2-0 win! 

Verdict: A hard fought win for the Phoenix and a 4 point weekend. MK games are always tough so each win is even more sweet. The past weekend saw two wins for El-Hage and a finale for Scott McKenzie. The latter having his name sung for the last two mins of regulation and a standing O in centre ice. Scott will be missed but the team moves on. The win was also important in getting the momentum back and ensuring we don' get left behind in the race for the EPL title. 

Attendance: A good one in the Ice Dome, MK always bring one of the larger away followings to the Ice Dome, i'll guess at 1,100 in the Ice Dome 

Phoenix 2 MK 0 - Phoenix Article

Bees 3 Phoenix 5 - Phoenix Article
Bees 3 Phoenix 5 - Bees Article

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Phoenix v Slough Jets 2nd December Game Review

The weekend just gone was the second tough one in a row. Saturday saw the Phoenix travel down to EPL leaders Basingstoke Bison. Any game against the Bison is tough, especially as the points are vital to the league campaign. For the Phoenix, it would be another disappointing result, another loss to the Bison which, very much, puts them in the driving seat for the EPL league title. Following up that game was a home game versus the Slough Jets. The Phoenix were without Tom Duggan for this one as he rested a concussion injury sustained in Basingstoke. 
First Period: 
The Phoenix opened up the period and looked to be in good form. The early chances fell to the home side and Slough were restricted to the odd chance here or there. The first goal came for the home side as Ciaran Long lit the lampt after 7min 43sec. The dominance continued and the Phoenix were looking good at this stage. That being said the Jets did look to up their work rate and, as most EPL fans know they have some potent scorers! Phoenix doubled their lead through Flaten at 13min 12sec and looked comfortable at the time. But, dont underestimate the Jets. Koulikov, a loved figure in the Ice Dome, would return to haunt the Phoenix as he slotted home a lovely goal at 17min 24sec to make sure the Phoenix didn't have it all their own way in the first period. 

Second Period: Slough changed their game plan in the second and began to flood centre ice. This disrupted the Phoenix play and began to level out the game. With the game going flat, the atmosphere dropped too! The Phoenix still had the possession but couldn't do allot with it and, the Jets were not offering much either. With the period winding down that man, Darius Pliskauskas, one guy I've always wanted the Phoenix to sign, achieved parity for the Jets. Levelling the scores with just 36sec left in the second period. 

Third Period: A period much like the second, nothing inspiring on the ice lead to the age old sporting conundrum. Do the players need the crowd to lift them or, should the players be lifting the crowd? Either way the third was a pretty dire affair in terms of the hockey on the ice. Nearing the end of the game Archer latched on to a long pass and raced clear to score past Rockman at 53min 47sec. The game continued and the Phoenix would give up another late goal in the period. Bakrlik getting the equaliser at 59min 13sec sending the game into overtime. 

Overtime: No goals to settle the game came from the extra session. At this time tension in the crowd started rising quickly as word got round the Bison had lost. An ideal time to make up some ground then! 

Penalty Shots: To be honest all bar one of the PS attempts were utterly useless! Bakrlik went last for Slough and scored from a thoughtful attempt. The Phoenix missed their next attempt so Slough got the extra point!
Verdict: Disappointing from the Phoenix. The performance was below par and Slough didn't particularly do much to claim the win outright. But, they took their chances so far do's! For me, it was disappointing to see the guys not take advantage of the game to snap out this little dip the Phoenix are in. We have beaten the Jets in Altrincham before and, with the Bison losing, a win would have been huge. I just hope the point is a step in the right direction! 

Attendance: An average crowd in a blumin freezing Ice Dome, so i'll guess at around 1,000 in. 

Phoenix 3 Slough 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Slough 4 - Jets Article