The Angry Budgie Live

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms 20th January Game Review

Last weekend saw the Phoenix take on the Basingstoke Bison and Peterborough Phantoms, two tough games where the Phoenix must try their best to remain on pace with the top two teams in the EPL. The Phoenix have yet to figure out the Bison and saturdays away game didn't see any surprises. The Bison getting the win and the Phoenix seeing Steve Fone injured. 

With Fone out of the lineup the Phoenix went into sundays home game versus the Peterborough Phantoms with El-Hage between the pipes.  The Phantoms had not previously secured a win on Phoenix ice. 

First Period: The game began and both teams we searching each other our during the first few minutes. The first goal did come and, it was the Phantoms who scored it. At 4min 43sec Line had the puck and forced it through on goal, in a stroke of obscene fortune the puck bobbled up and down El-Hage's back and into the goal. If it is clear on Phoenix TV it'll be one of the jammiest goals you will ever see! But hey, they all count! Less than two minutes later the Phoenix were on level terms through Psurny, adding to his impressive tally, the goal timed at 6min 38sec. The game continued and became quite a tight messy affair. Usually the Phoenix are able to take control in home games but, maybe due to tiredness or, more likely, the Phantoms hard work this wasn't the case. One more goal came in the period and it was the Phoenix who scored it, amazingly, on the powerplay! Bentham, this time, scoring at 14min 01sec. 

Second Period: The second period continued where the first left off, the game being very tight with neither side able to stamp their authority on it. The Phantoms goal was being peppered with shots, but the Phantoms also had their chances. El-Hage proving to be up to the task so far in the game. Around the halfway mark of the period two goals were scored. The Phantoms were first to level the scores with a goal at 31min 14sec through Graham. Phoenix came back quickly and scored another powerplay goal at 33min exactly through Psurny. No further goals were scored in the second period. 

Third Period: The third progressed and both teams began to tire. Peterborough, once again, scored the levelling goal through Glowa at 45min 48sec on a well worked powerplay. With the scores tied both teams tried for the winner but neither could find a way through each goalie. The full 60 mins ended with a tied scoreline. 

Overtime: The 4 on 4 period began and the Phoenix quickly went on the powerplay. What followed was a frustrating two minutes for the home faithful as the Phoenix struggled to create a meaningful chance. As the Phantoms returned to full strength Ferrara would break home fan hearts and give the Phantoms their first win in the Ice Dome ever. The winning goal coming at 63min 10sec. 

Verdict: First off, well done Peterborough! The Phoenix looked tired and out of ideas at times and, in truth, it was a below par performance. Maybe all the energy was taken during the previous nights game in Basingstoke? Even so the Phoenix should have enough quality to beat the Phantoms on home ice. What makes it even worse, this was another game where the Phoenx could have capitalised on a Bison slip but didn't! A poor game really and one I hope the Phoenix can move on from quickly! 

Attendance: A decent crowd in with a fair few groups, i'll guess at 1,100. 

Final Thought: Sunday's game was the first where Phoenix fans could purchase finals weekend tickets. To date the Phoenix had an allocation of 322 tickets spread over two blocks. According to the club this was a strict allocation. Tickets were on sale for two intermissions during the game and in that time, 369 were sold. Bearing in mind the Phoenix took over 500 fans to last seasons finals weekend, 322 was never going to be enough! I will be interested to hear how the EPL board meeting goes this week and if Neil has been able to secure more seats! As finals weekend didn't sell out last season, I dont know why clubs are not allocated the number of seats they have previously sold, would seem the simple way of doing things to me! 

Phoenix 3 Peterborough 4 AOT - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Peterborough 4 AOT - Phantoms Article
Phoenix 3 Peterborough 4 AOT - MEN Article

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 12th January Game Review

Last weekend, the game up for viewing in the Ice Dome, was an important one versus the Guildford Flames. A saturday night game saw a big crowd come to Altrincham, including a large away following, to watch 1st v 3rd. One thing you can count on is, games against the Flames are blumin good ones to watch! The game saw the Phoenix at full strength and we all settled in.

First Period: Right from the off the game exploded into life with some great end to end hockey. No matter which side of the divide you were on, the game was entertaining! Both Lee and Fone in goal were proving up to the task to with some early saves to prevent go ahead goals. The first goal did come, and came for the Phoenix. McKinne was fed the puck down the left wing and, as he entered the Flames zone, unleashed a laser of a shot to Lee's top right corner. Such an accurate shot Lee had no chance! The first goal timed at 14min 54sec. The period continued with both sides pressing, the Phoenix with most of the possession but the Flames with the better quality chances. The Flames are an impressive team to watch, I don't think there is a better team on the transition from defensive zone to attacking opportunity.

Second Period: The second continued as the first left off, but the Phoenix were quick to extend their lead. At 22min 58sec Psurny got his first goal of the night. What happened next was amazing....the Phoenix scored a powerplay goal! Going on the advantage the Phoenix were able to move the puck around the perimeter of the zone with speed. When the puck made it to the right wing it was passed up to Boothroyd who was closing in on Lee, he unleased a lovely slapshot which went straight for the top right corner, timed 30min 46sec. It was right in my eye line and could not have been more accurate even if Crosby tried! Exactly three minutes later the Phoenix did it again, at 33min 46sec the puck began its movement only to find its way to Pozivil's stick for another slapshot and the Phoenix 4th goal. At this point the Flames called a timeout to regroup. Going into the second intermission the Phoenix were 4-0 up but not clear. The Flames are too good to not score!

Third Period: Phoenix got the perfect start in the third period, Psurny grabbed a second goal just 40sec into the session to give the Phoenix an impressive 5-0 advantage. The home faithful were in the stratosphere about a minute later when the home team scored again. At 41min 57sec Flaten fired the puck on the net only for Rick Skeene to put it past his own keeper. I can't remember if it was after the 5th or 6th goal but Guildford changed netminder. With the score now 6-0 the pressure on the Phoenix eased, but Guildford are a team that cannot be counted out. The final goal of the game came for the Flames and, in an effort to atone for his earlier mistake, it was Skeene who scored it, timed 45min 37sec. The rest of the period wound down and the Phoenix secured an impressive victory against the Flames.

Verdict: Brilliant game, brilliant result for the home team and fans. The Flames have hammered the Phoenix down in Guildford more than once so it was nice to dish out the punishment for once! I remember commenting on the Phoenix podcast, when asked about MOM. you couldn't pick out one player who shone, the whole team were excellent. If the Phoenix could re-create that performance every game we would be league champs!

Attendance: As said up at the top it was a good crowd in the Ice Dome, i'll guess at 1,300.

Phoenix 6 Guildford 1 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Guildford 1 - Flames Article
Phoenix 6 Guildford 1 - MEN Article
Phoenix 6 Guildford 1 - Cheshire Today

Telford 1 Phoenix 6 - Phoenix Article

Friday, 11 January 2013

Phoenix v MK Lightning 6th January Game Review

Another visit of the MK Lightning to the Ice Dome and another good game in store. MK are a team that can play some good hockey but are more than willing to indulge in the darker side of the game if needed. So, a seasoned EPL team really! Most of the time games between the two sides can be real hockey spectacles  with some very talented players on both rosters. As good as each team is, they tend to struggle in each other's rinks. On to the game, the Phoenix were still without Robert Schnabel but could finally welcome Liam Chong to the ice. 

First Period: MK were resting Stephen Wall so it was Mettam and Fone who started between the pipes. MK started the game strongly, hitting the post twice but, it would be the Phoenix who got on the board first. James Archer scoring after just 1min 43sec. The early goal settled the Phoenix and MK so both teams began to play some great end to end hockey. Even in the early stages, there were a few PP opportunities for both sides. The MK powerplay looked very strong, they were quick and moved the puck around the zone with skill. Sadly they kept coming up against a hard working Phoenix D and Steve Fone in some great form. The Phoenix extended their lead, much to everyone's relief, on the powerplay. Luke Boothroyd continuing his fine scoring form with his goal timed at 16min 26sec. We then got a reminder as to how potent MK can be. Around a minute later and MK had got themselves back on the board, Scoring at 17min 32sec through Blaz Emersic....quality player that guy! 

Second Period: The Phoenix were leading 2-1 at the start of the second period and the period carried on as the first did. When these two teams meet and, the game does not boil over, they can be a joy to watch. The Phoenix can, usually, dominate games at the Ice Dome but this one against MK was a great contest. End to end action with two goalies playing their best. The period wore on with no goals to be seen but, that would change towards the period end. With the puck in the MK zone Pozivil was found on the back post to score the Phoenix 3rd goal at 38min 12sec. 

Third Period: MK, down 3-1, needed a quick start to the third period, and they got it! Just 13 seconds into the period and Tverdek scored, what great timing for the away side. A poor one to concede, especially as it was a certain Mr Hand who gave away the puck! Any thoughts the Phoenix had of running away with the game were blown out the window with that early goal. With that out the way the game got back to the end to end action we had seen in the first two sessions. The Phoenix were able to re-establish their two goal cushion when Tony Hand, perhaps to atone for his earlier error, stepped up from the blue line and blasted a slapshot through Mettam and into the MK goal. MK began to press for a goal and, with a minute to go pulled Mettam from the net. Thankfully, for the Phoenix faithful, the Phoenix got the puck to Flaten who scored an empty net goal at 59min 19sec. With the buzzer sounding soon after the Phoenix won the game 5-2. 

Verdict: Games against MK can be tricky, they have many seasoned EPL performers and know who to win at this level. That being said, I think the Phoenix are slightly stronger and, I would expect us to win our home games versus MK. That being said, it was a great game to watch, so much end to end action with both sides creating chances. 

Attendance: The attendance guessing game continues, i'll say 1,000 in. 

Final thought: As was announced at the start of the game this would be Ciaran Long's last game in Phoenix colours. The young lad had just landed his 'dream job' after a 3 year search and the Phoenix would not stand in his way. Ciaran will be missed and leaves the Phoenix having played 82 games and amassing 28 goals and 19 assists. We will miss his hard work, physical play and never say die attitude. Ciaran leaves the Phoenix and has signed for the Slough Jets joining up with Slava Koulikov. 

Phoenix 5 MK 2 - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 5 MK 2 - MEN Article
Phoenix 5 MK 2 - Cheshire Today

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 30th December Game Review

Prior to the visit of the Bees The Angry Budgie went off to Sheffield for a bit of a sporting day. Firstly I went to Sheffield United v Hartlepool which, despite the Blades being 1st in the division and Hartlepool being bottom, resulted in a 3-2 win for the away side. Disappointing, but hey ho the Phoenix will win later right? Nope, a collective team fail ensured the Steeldogs would win 8-4. So a crappy day sporting wise! 

Perhaps because of that game, and/or giving him a rest but, El-Hage would start in goal for the Phoenix, facing him Ambler in the Bees net. 

First Period: The Phoenix made a slow start and, for those fans who made the trip to Sheffield, many had shades of that night. The Bees capitalized on their hosts lackluster start and scored a great goal through Lack at 2min 46sec. Thankfully that sparked the Phoenix who went on to own the first period. The equiliser came at 6min 33sec when James Archer scored. The Phoenix, then capitalised on a powerplay, having seen recent homes games this marked a nice change! Derek Campbell continuing his impressive form got the PP marker at 9min 15sec. James Archer got his second of the game at 11min 38sec when he was on hand to tap in the back post to cap a great, flowing, up ice move. Tony Hand would score the Phoenix 4th of the game and end an excellent first period, scoring at 16min 50sec. 

Second Period: The Phoenix continued to press the game and were rewarded with their 5th goal half way through the second session. Barri McKenzie got the puck around the Phoenix blue line and began his run up ice. After making it through 3 Bees players he scored his goal at 31min 32sec. This would be the only goal of the period as the Phoenix looked to close out the game. 

Third Period: As the third period began the Bees upped their effort and ensure they were not wiped out completely. Martin Masa scored early into the period at 41min 10sec and, at the halfway mark, Lack got his second of the game at 50min 50sec to make the score 5-3 Phoenix. The Phoenix were in no mood to be charitable and shut the Bees down. The only further goal came at 56min 07sec when Derek Campell got the Phoenix 6th and final goal of the night. 

Verdict: The game was a great response to the bad loss in Sheffield. it also capped a run of 6 games in 11 days. The Phoenix were clinical at times but coped well with the Bees. I felt sorry for Ambler in the Bees net, the stats won't be kind to him but, in truth, he was hung out to dry by the team in front! Ambler is a good goalie to have behind a hard working team but not good enough to face an entire team by himself! 

Attendance: The holiday season boosted the numbers again, i'll say around 1,200 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 6 Bracknell 3 - MEN Article
Phoenix 6 Bracknell 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Bracknell 3 - Bees Article 

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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Phoenix v Telford Tigers 27th December Game Review

With Christmas done and dusted for another year it was time for the lunatics (fans) to assemble once again in a damn freezing Ice Rink in Altrincham. Tonight's victims, err team, was the Telford Tigers. A team who, being 10th in the league, should be a nailed on 2 points for the Phoenix but, as I have found out on a few away games, seem able to put one over the Phoenix every now and then. Plus, in Declan Ryan, they have themselves another Ben Bowns! 

A large crowd, possibly the biggest of the season, filled the Dome and a good representation from the Tigers fans helped create a great pre-game atmosphere. 

First Period: Just like games against the Steeldogs, early goals are essential against the Tigers. Even without Ryan in the lineup (absent through illness) the Tigers can be a difficult, park the bus, type of team to beat. There were many who were relieved it was the Phoenix who scored first. Psurny adding to his impressive tally with the first goal scored at 5min 37sec. The Tigers hit back straight away when new import Jaroslav Kruzik got them on the board at 8min 21sec. Thankfully, for us Phoenix fans, that goal woke up the Phoenix offence. The Phoenix engaged gear and really took the game by the scruff of the neck. Michael Psurny completed a wonderful natural hattrick with two further goals at 9min 13sec and 14min 39sec. Tony Hand then capped off an excellent first period with the Phoenix 4th goal at 16min 19sec. 

Second Period: After a great first period it was up to the Phoenix to close out the game now. So many times the Phoenix have got into good leads against teams like Telford only to let them back in. The second showed the Phoenix could close down a team and secure the win. Pozivil got the Phoenix going in the second period when he ghosted round to the back post to tap in a lovely goal at 23min 14sec. Telford showed they could still hit twine when Selwood scored at 24min ??sec. I don't know the exact time as, only a few seconds later Tom Duggan scored the Phoenix 6th goal. Flaten was next up to get a share of the spoils as he scored at 27min 40sec. Then new guy Barri McKenzie opened his scoring account with a goal at 36min 21sec. 

Third Period: With the score now 8-2 to the Phoenix the game and atmosphere fell at this point. The game was won, the only question was, would the Phoenix (Tony Hand) look to improve their goal difference or, not embarrass the opposition? Halfway through the period the Phoenix got number 9 when Luke Boothroyd scored a power play goal at 49min exactly. With the game winding down it was Tony Hand himself who would score the Phoenix 10th goal at 58min 47sec. 

Verdict: The Phoenix finally ran up the scoreboard when they had the chance. The Tigers could have made this game difficult but, due to illness, lost too many key players to challenge for the full 60 minutes. The Phoenix were professional and ruthless at times and sent the large crowd home happy. 

Attendance: The christmas season was good for the Phoenix, i'd guess at 1,300 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 10 Telford 2 - MEN Article
Phoenix 10 Telford 2 - Phoenix Article 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 20th December Game Review

The Steeldogs rolled into Altrincham for another encounter in the war of the roses games. An expectant crowd assembled in a freezing Ice Dome to see both teams take to the Ice, Phoenix without Schnabel with with Barri McKenzie and Derek Campbel. Sheffield, I believe, were at full strength. 

First Period: The key with Sheffield is to get a good early start, giving the Steeldogs a goal headstart is not wise as they are one of the most hard working teams in the EPL! Thankfully for the home side that was not to happen. In fact the first goal came on a Phoenix penalty kill. Often, when killing a penalty, the Phoenix will leave someone close to the blue line to capitalise on any breakdowns. This happened and Tony Hand raced up ice with, after an initial stumble, Derek Campbell. Campbell would tap in a simple goal, short handed, to give the Phoenix the lead at 7min 29sec. Phoenix continued to press and were rewarded with a second goal at 11min 07sec when Flaten, practically on the Sheffield goal line, fired a hard shot goal wards, which somehow managed to squeeze past Flavell and into the goal. Andy McKinnie added a third to the Phoenix tally at 17min 19sec and the Phoenix looked strong. You can never write off the Steeldogs and, into the last minute of the period, Elliot got their first of the night at 19min 11sec. 

Second Period: What ever Andre said in the interval did the trick, at 21min 35sec, so just into the second session, Ben Morgan brought the Steeldogs to within a goal with a neat tap in on the far post. With the scores now at 3-2 the game tightened up, Sheffield had now woken up and were competing hard as we know they can. As the period wore on clear cut chances were few and far between but it was still a good watch. 

Third Period: Just 20 minutes to go and the Steeldogs would get the next goal to tie the game 3 a piece. 45min 23sec and Pasha Gomeniuk scored for Sheffield. That man moves with the agility of an ice berg but, he still has quality! Sheffield upped their game but in doing so began to leave gaps for the Phoenix. Phoenix would score next, and another short handed goal, when Psurny scored at 55min 15sec. With one goal to defend the home crowd upped their noise levels and, with less than a minute to go, the points were made safe. As if written in the stars Campbell would get his second of the night and secure the win, goal timed at 59min 01sec. 

Verdict: A good win against a difficult Sheffield side, plus it seemed the Campbell the Phoenix had was different to the one Sheffield had. Two goals, one assist and a fight (albeit a naff one) was a good return for Campbell. So a pleasing win for the home crowd to enjoy. 

Attendance: A healthy crowd in the Ice Dome, i'll guess at around 1,000 

Phoenix 5 Sheffield 3 - Cheshire Today
Phoenix 5 Sheffield 3 - Steeldogs Article