The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Phoenix v Guildford Flames 17th February Game Review

The Phoenix current form is poor, theres now two ways about it! The current run has coincided with the head coach leaving to handle team GB, a long injury to Flaten and a long period of continuing absence for Phoenix number 1 goalie Steve Fone. For the past month or so El-Hage has been standing in and, considering he is a young backup goalie, he is working damn hard. Sadly all those circumstances has seen the Phoenix on a run of form rivalling the Telford Tigers at the foot of the EPL. 

Perhaps, given all that, the Flames are the last team you would want to be facing but, at the same time they are the best. They are a team the loves to play hockey and, given how strong they are they would force the Phoenix to play their best from the first puck drop. This game fell slap bang in the middle of the school holidays which helped swell the crowd to the biggest of the season. Here's hoping the performance on the ice would match! 

First Period: The crowd were in fine form and the game opened to some great noise from the stands. The hockey on the ice was up to the usual Pyro derby standards too. Great end to end action, Lee in the Flames net in fine form as the Phoenix pressed for the opener. The Flames would be the first to light the lamp though, Huppe broke into the Flames zone and, possibly the first time since he was thrust into the starters position El-Hage made a mistake. Allowed a gap to appear under his stick and Huppe gratefully slotted home. First goal timed at 3min 55sec. The game progressed, thankfully the early Flames goal didn't dishearten the Phoenix and they were back on level terms at 9min 21sec when Psurny scored. The period went on and both sides exchanged chances but no further goals. 

Second Period: The Phoenix went into the first intermission on the powerplay, something this blog has moaned about in the past. Phoenix got the best start to the third period they could get. Cycling the puck round the boards, Boothroyd ghosted towards the back post and, after being found by Hand, scored in the empty net. His goal on the powerplay coming just 24 seconds into the period. The Phoenix continued to work hard and the Flames did their bit in the game. The Flames were dangerous on the break and looked to exploit the inexperienced El-Hage in goal. The Flames would take advantage of this and wrest control of the game from the Phoenix. Milos Melicherik scored the flames second to tie the game at 32min 51sec. Then Longstaff, was allowed time to bring the puck out from behind the goal, turn, and fire a shot past El-Hage, definitely a goal he will want back. The go ahead goal coming at 37min 20sec. Going into the second break Flames lead 3 goals to 2. 

Third Period: The Phoenix had to press in the third period whilst also being mindful not to leave El-Hage out to dry. The Phoenix pressed and began to dominate the play, no clear chances on Lee came though and the period wore on. The big crowd was still in the game and worked to get the Phoenix fired up and score the goal. As time ticked by the Phoenix pressed and pressed, but the Flames would score the last, and most deflating goal, of the game. Heading into the final minute Kvetan had the puck and fired a hard clearance up ice, which hit the plexi behind El-Hage, only for it to bounce back and into the Phoenix net off El-Hage's back. So unfortunate and, in all my years of watching/playing Ice Hockey, I have only ever seen that type of goal scored twice! The final goal coming at 59min 10sec. 

Verdict: Gutted to lose but, well done to the Flames they worked hard for the win the Phoenix, equally, did their bit. A point would have been deserved, definitely not the last goal though! This game brought the best out of the Phoenix and they were mightily unlucky to come from the game with a big fat zero. The big crowd was awesome too, I had two groups of newbies there and both, despite the result, are hooked and can't wait to come back. 

Attendance: I've been reliably informed it was the biggest crowd of the season, looked it too. Im going to say around 1,800 in the Ice Dome. 

Phoenix 2 Flames 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 2 Flames 4 - Flames Article

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Phoenix v Slough Jets 3rd February Game Review

Sorry for the big big delay in getting this game review to you all, there's no other excuse than me just being 
Anyhoo, Sunday saw the Jets come to the Ice Dome boosted by an expanding ex-Phoenix contingent, we all know Koulikov is the player-coach. In recent weeks Pavel Gomeniunk and Ciaran Long. Ciaran, a long time fan favourite of the Phoenix, had secured a new job and meant he had to leave. Big big loss for the Phoenix! 

Sunday night, a big crowd and a difficult opponent, all the makings for a decent game of hockey! 

First Period: Slough are a tricky team to play, seasoned EPL veterans they know every trick of the EPL. Certainly a team who enjoy the dark arts of the game. The Phoenix have, of late, been struggling with some up and down games. The first 20mins of the game the Phoenix managed to look settled and take control of the game. The first goal of the game came at 6min 04sec when Psurny scored, Barri McKenzie scored a lovely goal to double the Phoenix lead at 10min 15sec. 

Second Period: Things went a bit mental in the second period, the usual Phoenix second period slump didn't happen. Slough had to come out and press the Phoenix hard. The ex Phoenix contingent would lead the fight back. Early in the second period Pavel Gomeniuk riffled a shot in from the blue line at 22min 40sec and, less than 3minutes later Ciaran Long popped up to tie the game. His goal coming at 25min 11sec. This fight back woke the Phoenix, and in a spectacular 5 minute period the Phoenix took back the game. Just after the half hour make Psurny stepped up and scored his second of the game at 32min 30sec. Ondrej Pozivil got the next goal at 36min 45sec, not a regular on the score sheet but he took his goal very well. James Archer got the Phoenix 5th goal at 37min 18sec and capped the Phoenix explosion in the second period. 

Third Period: The Phoenix were exerting some great control over the game, Slough really racked up the dirty chippy play in the third period. In fact, I don't think iv'e seen a dirtier team in the EPL, they are masters at it! But, they get away with it, the EPL ref's just don't call any of it! The third period saw a few more goals, all of them on the powerplay. A sign of the ref's actually calling stuff. First up, Pozivil got his second of the game at 41min 41sec. Then Ciaran Long got his second against the Phoenix at 49min 16sec and, finally, Luke Boothroyd or, #bootherscoringmachine got the final goal at 52min 45sec. The Phoenix 7th goal capping a really fine performance from the Phoenix. 

Verdict: A much needed win for the home team and valuable points against a rival and a competing team at the top of the table. The returning Phoenix boy's played damn hard and Ciaran will be happy with his performance but not the team. It was great to see him back in the Ice Dome, even if he was wearing the wrong colours! 

Attendance: Like I said at the top a good crowd in the Ice Dome, i'll guess at 1,200 in the Ice Dome. 

Phoenix 7 Slough 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 7 Slough 3 - Jets Article

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Phoenix v Bracknell Bees 26th January Game Review

The EPL quest continues for the Phoenix with a double weekend versus the Bracknell Bees. Bracknell, like Peterborough the week before had yet to find a win on Altrincham Ice. I just hope that the Bees don't get that win! So well trudged off to the Ice Dome hoping for better fortunes for our Phoenix team! 

First Period: With El-Hage once again backstopping the Phoenix play got under way with some early chances for both sides. Perhaps, learning from previous visits, the Bees set their stall out early to work hard and protect Ambler in goal. This meant the Phoenix had allot of possession but no clear cut chances on goal. Shots were getting through, but none good enough to test him. In some ways opposition clubs have figures out a good defencive setup when playing in Altrincham. The period progressed and the Phoenix began to get frustrated. The Bees offered little going forward other than Masa/Smital but the Phoenix own poor play wasn't helping. Sloppy passing and some of the most god awful play on the powerplay began to get the home fans worried. 

Second Period: With a bit of concentration the Phoenix could well take the game but Bracknell proved they were a much improved team versus the one that got hammered at the Ice Dome previously. No matter how hard they tried the Phoenix were below par and nothing was happening. Bracknell then, over a 4 minute period, stole the game. A perfect example of a team weathering the storm only then to take the few chances presented to them. A couple of sloppy passes turned over the puck and, at 22min 56sec Smital scored the first goal for the visitors. Their second came at 26min 33sec through Martin Masa, in truth both of Bracknell's goals were brilliantly worked and well taken. The Phoenix huffed and puffed both no goals came for the rest of the period. 

Third Period: With Bracknell two ahead the tension level rose in the Ice Dome as the Phoenix struggled more and more. Frustration in the stands was evident as the home fans feared another result like the Peterborough one the previous weekend. They tried and tried but nothing was working, as the period wore on it became more and more obvious the Phoenix were not going to score. So the game ended with the Phoenix suffering a poor home loss. 

Verdict: A second poor poor performance from the Phoenix in a row, nothing got going. The passing was poor the powerplay I know you will have heard but, the Phoenix powerplay is beyond awful and, I wouldn't be surprised if its the least successful in the EPL. When Tony is on the ice its slow, predictable and doesn't work. The Phoenix were out of idea's and it showed. For me, the silence come the end of the game said it all, I don't think the fans could believe what they had just watched. Credit to the Bees though, they must have hurt after their lost last time in Altrincham, changed their play and got the result. 

Attendance: A few big groups in, which I doubt we will see again sadly, I'll guess at 1,100 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 0 Bracknell 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 0 Bracknell 2 - Bees Article

Almost as if to right the wrongs of saturday nights game, the Phoenix travelled down to Bracknell for the return fixture and, this time, skated away with a 3-1 victory. 

Bees 1 Phoenix 3 - Phoenix Article
Bees 1 Phoenix 3 - Bees Article
Bees 1 Phoenix 3 - Cheshire Today
Bees 1 Phoenix 3 - Bolton News

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