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