The Angry Budgie Live

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Phoenix v Telford Tigers 24h March Game Review

It's that time of year again, it's rolled around too quick! The end of the 2012/13 EPL season. 53 games have passed and the Phoenix faithful descended on the Ice Dome one more time to see the Phoenix take on the Tigers. The Phoenix just needed one point to secure 3rd place or, hope the MK Lightning lost. this would set up a playoff quarter final series with either the Bees or the Wildcats, depending on how results went. The Phoenix welcomed Steve Fone back onto the ice for his first start in months.

First Period: While their positions in the table are far apart, on the ice, the Tigers play as a much tougher team to beat. They work hard, have a few quality imports and Declan Ryan. Once of the Phoenix, Ryan has become a huge asset to the Tigers and its easy to see why. He can single handily win the Tigers a game and has frustrated the Phoenix on many occasion. Sunday night the key for the Phoenix would be to get through him early. They did just that, at 4min 10sec Psurny scored for the Phoenix. Both sides traded chances, Phoenix possibly having the better of them. Telford would not be kept out all period and, at 14min 02sec equilasied through Thomas Soar. Fone was playing well but, possibly still a little rusty after so long out.

Second Period: 1-1 after the first session the Phoenix took control in the second. Restricting Telford to very few minutes in the Phoenix zone the home team scored 3 un-answered goals. Over the weekend, because of the Phoenix injury woe's the Phoenix had dressed 3 ENL players from the Metro's roster. Jared Dickinson took his opportunity and put the Phoenix ahead at 27min 47sec when he pounced on his own rebound. The Phoenix then scored two goals in quick succession to take hold. Psurny got his second of the game at 30min 05sec and, Chong at 31min 27sec made the scores 4-1 Phoenix.

Third Period: With MK slipping up the Phoenix were nigh on assured of 3rd place. Firday night's game in Sheffield saw the Phoenix blow a 6-3 lead on a 5 min powerplay to Sheffield. The third period would, worrying, see another similar collapse. I don't know what Tom Watkins said in the locker room but it worked. In 2 short minutes right from the first puck drop the Tigers were level and the Phoenix reeling. Soar kicked things off at 41min 08sec, then Crease at 41min 16sec and, to make it 4-4, Karpov at 41min 47sec. A complete turnaround in 39seconds! The home fans just couldn't work out what had happened, where had the Phoenix gone, who were these imposter's on the ice? Tony, was doing his nut on the bench, and rightly so! Blowing big leads against the leagues bottom two clubs is not the form you want to take into the playoffs. The misery was compounded when Rose scored the winner at 58min 19sec. The game ending in a pretty poor loss. 5-4 Telford.

Verdict: Oh dear! For 40 minutes the Phoenix were excellent and ground the Tigers down. The last twenty minutes were terrible! Credit the Tigers for continuing to work hard, and taking their chances. The Tigers fought for this game and the Phoenix didn't. With a big crowd in this was a poor way to end the Phoenix season. I just hope the sting of this result can be used as a springboard into the playoffs.

Attendance: Another good one, I'll guess at 1,700 in the Ice Dome.

Phoenix 4 Telford 5 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Telford 5 - Tigers Article
Phoenix 4 Telford 5 - MEN
Phoenix 4 Telford 5 - Cheshire Today

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Phoenix v Sheffield Steeldogs 17th March Game Review

As the season wind's down home games are running out for the Phoenix faithful. Sunday saw Payette and his Steeldogs come to town. This game, coming after a heavy loss to the Tigers was a game the Phoenix would have to be back to their best. The Steeldogs don't play hockey so it would be a tough encounter. To make things worse, Psurny was still recovering from an injury and the Phoenix were also without Pozivil who was suffering with illness. Hardly ideal going into a game like this missing half your imports and your starting netminder. 

First Period: The game opened and the Phoenix short bench was evident. Needless to say the Steeldogs came out hard and the Phoenix had to raise their game to match it. The cheap shots, niggly play and questionable tactics we all know and hate from Sheffield were on show. The Phoenix worked hard to deal with it and play as best they could. Clear cut scoring chances were few and far between but Sedlar, in the Sheffield goal, was facing more rubber than Jazzy. Kohorn, the new Ozolins, looked a quality player.....except for the white gloves! Anyway only one goal was scored in the period, the Steeldogs getting it. Bebris broke down the right, held of the Phoenix D man and lifted a back hand over Jazzy's left shoulder. That goal coming at 19min 02sec. 

Second Period: This period would be remembered for one thing, and not the goals! For most in the Ice Dome the officiating was........what shall we say?.....questionable! Phoenix had made a great start to the period by scoring an early goal, Chong ripping a lovely shot at 21min 27sec. Then came the call, after a scrum around Sedlar the players broke free and McKenzie was tripped. After much discussion between the linesman and referee McKinnie was assed a 5+Game for kicking. Needless to say the home fans were in uproar. I know, and accept, I will view games with a Phoenix bias but, I genuinely cannot see how that call was made. There was absolutely no reaction from any player, Phoenix or Sheffield, none at all. Surely if the taboo of kicking was committed, the Sheffield players would be hounding the referee to make the call? I have not had a chance to watch Phoenix TV but those who have say it shows no such kicking happening! So the short benched Phoenix were punished again. Thankfully the Phoenix used this to their advantage and hit the Steeldogs for a couple of goals in quick succession. Richie Bentham scoring at 30min 58sec and then McKenzie at 32min exactly pushed the Phoenix out to 3-1 ahead. Annoyingly the prized little git Greg Wood pulled one back for the Steeldogs at 35min 49sec. While I hate the little bugger with a passion, he is a dogged little guy who gives his all for the team. 

Third Period: The Steeldogs went in search for the game tieing goal in the third period, the Phoenix though, would not allow them in for a clear cut chance. Both teams were showing signs of tiring and the pace of the game began to slow. The Phoenix began to short shift and the short bench really began to tell, at times the bench was so empty it was laughable! The game wore on and in the last minutes Sheffield looked to pull Sedlar. They only got the chance once but could not set up in the Phoenix zone. Phoenix running out 3-2 winners. 

Verdict: Always pleasing to get a win over Sheffield! Now, the officiating, honestly, hand on heart, I never try to criticise the officiating. I always think, if they turned round and said, 'ok you don't think were doing a good job? do it yourself' I try not to criticise as I know I couldn't do it myself. Taking my rose tinted's off, last sundays game against Sheffield, was some of the worst officiating I have ever seen. Not just from the referee, but the linesmen too. Numerous icings were either given or not given while seemingly being exactly the same. Offsides were missed and blatant penalties missed. It is frustrating to see a game ruined by those wearing the stripes. Anway....time to breath.....the Phoenix won! 

Attendance: While not inflated by the groupon offer, the crowd was one of the seasons best. I'd say 1,800 in the Ice Dome. 

Phoenix 3 Sheffield 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Sheffield 2 - MEN Article
Phoenix 3 Sheffield 2 - Steeldogs Article

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms 9th March Game Review

The Phantoms game saw another sell-out crowd at the Ice Dome, this was the last game valid for the Groupon offer that had been so successful for the club. After the superb win against the Bison the previous weekend the Phoenix had another chance to produce a performance to hook the newbies in the crowd. The Phantoms can prove to be tricky opponents, Phoenix have often struggled down in Peterborough but enjoyed more comfortable games back in Altrincham. Hopefully this would be another good game for the home fans.

First Period: The game got underway with a cracking atmosphere in the Ice Dome, Phoenix went on the offensive right from the off with some good early chances on the Phantoms net. The home fans did not have to wait long, the first goal of the game came from James Archer at 4min exactly. Phoenix had the goal and needed to build, the Phantoms however, are a difficult tricky team to play and got themselves on the board soon after. Lauko continuing his impressive scoring form against the Phoenix by scoring at 9min 02sec. Phoenix hit right back when the top line clicked and the super sniper Psurny added to his goal tally, scoring at 11min 54sec. The period had seen goals so far, the crowd were happy, but the Phantoms just wouldnt go away. Lauko scoring yet again at 14min 38sec on the powerplay to make it 2-2. That's how the period ended, quite an entertaining opener to be fair!

Second Period: Phoenix had to tighten up and help Jazzy out to win this game, and that's exactly what they did. They kept up the pressure but really controlled the area in front of the Phoenix net. Not really allowing the Phantoms much joy in and around the slot. Jazzy was performing very well in goal to deal with any shots that did come through and the mucky stuff around the crease. Phoenix took the lead once again when Pozivil scored a beauty of a goal at 25min 54sec one he really savoured. 10 minuted later Barri McKenzie continued his recent rich vein of scoring when he put the Phoenix two goals clear at 35min 31sec. The final 5 minutes passed with no further goals and, at the second break, the Phoenix led 4-2.

Third Period: Phoenix looked to push on and closeout the game in the final session and they had the game all but won in the first 5 minutes. With the Phoenix on the powerplay McKenzie got another goal at 41min 31sec. Then, less than 3 minutes later Psurny notched another at 44min exactly. The games was done, Phantoms demoralised, when Phoenix bagged number 7 at 44min 52sec when James Archer scored again. The Phantoms called a timeout and Phoenix swapped El-Hage for Jazzy in goal. The final 15 minutes of the game passed with no further goals and little attacking effort from the Phantoms. The Phoenix content to wind down the clock and secure a fine win.

Verdict: Another big crowd, another great performance. While the game wouldn't win any awards for stellar play. The newbies in the crowd will remember the win and seeing lots of goals. Mission accomplished for the Phoenix!

Attendance: As with the Bison, a 2,200 sellout.

Phoenix 7 Phantoms 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 7 Phantoms 2 - Phantoms Article
Phoenix 7 Phantoms 2 - The Bolton News
Phoenix 7 Phantoms 2 - MEN
Phoenix 7 Phantoms 2 - Mancunian Matters

Bracknell 4 Phoenix 8 - Phoenix Article

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Phoenix v Basingstoke Bison 3rd March Game Review

After saturdays cup heartbreak the Phoenix difficult weekend continued with the visit of the Basingstoke Bison, a team that the Phoenix had yet to beat. The Bison are a very defensive team who work hard in front of the EPL'ss best goalie Stevie Lyle. To be fair, the system works! Bison are challenging for the EPL title and, in all games in the Ice Dome, have shutout the Phoenix effectively. For the Phoenix, this was a chance to avoid a whitewash and put on a good performance in front of a sold out Ice Dome. The first time this has happened in the EPL for the Phoenix. 

First Period: With the stands packed, the atmosphere electric, the game got underway and the Phoenix looked to get out the traps early. With such a big crowd in the Phoenix made the perfect start when they hit the Bison with two quick goals. Tom Duggan got himself on the scoreboard for the first time in a while with a goal at 2min 32sec. Then just about a minute later the Ice Dome was rocking when Psurny scored the Phoenix second. The Phoenix continued the pressure but were forced to long shots by the hard working Bison defence. Then, just as the atmosphere began to go a little flat, the Bison would spoil the perfect period for the Phoenix by scoring on the powerplay. At 19min 58sec, the puck cycled round to Greener on the blue line who put a hopeful shot on goal. Thanks to the screen the puck found its way into the Phoenix goal. Such a shame to concede at the end of a very good period for the Phoenix. 

Second Period: The Bison tied the game towards the end of the second period when Cesky scored to make it 2 a piece, scoring at 37min 51sec. This woke the Phoenix who responded with two quick fire goals to really break the Bison. At 38min 50sec McKinnie, using a screen, unleashed a laser of a shot right to Lyle's top corner, a beautiful goal. The Ice Dome erupted again 30 odd seconds later when Flaten was found clear in the hashmarks and slid the puck under Lyle's stick through the 5-hold. A goal Lyle will not like at all, that goal at 39min 25sec. 

Third Period: With the big crowd enjoying itself the Phoenix had to be professional and close out the game. Thankfully they did and, in the first minutes of the 3rd period, effectively finished the game off. Psurny, again, on the powerplay got the Phoenix 5th goal at 43min 44sec and James Archer at 45min 49sec got the 6th. The Phoenix had done well to score pair's of goals so quickly. This really got under Lyle's skin and ground down the Bison. The minutes ticketed by with no further clear cut chances and the Phoenix, and their large following, could enjoy a win over the Bison......finally! 

Verdict: A worry I always have when a big crowd, full of newbies, is in. I worry that the product on the Ice won't impress. There was no worry of that sunday night. The Phoenix worked hard, got their deserved victory and, judging by those around us in the crowd, secured some new fans for life! The Phoenix deserved the win, scoring early goals always helps, especially with the wall that is Lyle. The two quick goals in the second period really disheartened the Bison and the game was a bit of a formality after that. That being said, the Bison won't mind the loss. In the 6 game series the Bison have 5 wins. Im sure they will be happy with that! 

Attendance: A sell out, so 2,200 I think! 

Phoenix 6 Bison 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Bison 2 - Cheshire Today

Big thanks to Richard Allan, official Manchester Phoenix photographer for the picture.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Phoenix v Guildford Flames EPL Cup 2nd Leg 2nd March Game Review

Last Saturday saw the 2nd leg of the EPL Cup semi-final between the Phoenix and Flames, up in Manchester we were getting ready for another edition of the Pyro Derby. The score from the first leg was 6-4 Flames which, given the Phoenix squad at the time, was a damn good effort. Two goals were doable for the Phoenix but, it would take a massive effort to overcome the men from Guildford. 

First Period: A smaller than expected crowd turned out for saturday night's game but those in attendance, make some noise! The game got underway, Lee in net for Guildford and Jazzy in net for the Phoenix. The play was no different to others in the Pyro derby, end to end, quality hockey, with the Phoenix shading it just about. With the Phoenix slowly taking the game the first goal game as a right sucker punch. You could feel the collective sigh in the Phoenix faithful when Huppe scored through Jazzy's 5-hole to put the Flames ahead. Most people in the Dome, myself included, knew it would be tough, the Flames getting the first goal? That mountain was looking damn high right about now. The team, to give them credit, didn't loose heart, they regrouped and took the game to Guildford searching for their first goal. 

Second Period: The Phoenix had to wait until the second session to get themselves onto the scoreboard. They did it with a bang too and, in doing so, re-invigorated the home crowd. Pozivil got the first at 24min 22sec then, when Guildford helpfully picked up a penalty, the Phoenix took the lead at 24min 50sec'ish when Psurny scored. This reduced the overall deficit to one goal. From here on the two teams began to trade goals. Flames scored on the powerplay through Nathan Rempel midway through the second session. The Phoenix were working hard but, just couldn't get that daylight with the Flames on the overall scores. 

Third Period: All square on the night, Flames ahead by two, one 20min session to go. The Phoenix upped the work rate and Guildford sat back to absorb all the pressure, hitting Phoenix on the break. Which is all they had to do to be fair, Lee was doing his usual standing on his head routine and the usual histrionics. Phoenix went ahead through James Archer at 42min 26sec, the Phoenix then pressed for another goal. But Guildford would score again to ease their worries. Rempel again netting at 50min 44sec. The Phoenix would set up a barnstorming finish when Psurny scored another powerplay goal at 55min 19sec. The Phoenix pressed and pressed but couldn't make the breakthrough. Finalscore 4-3 Phoenix on the night but 8-9 on aggregate. 

Verdict: Gutted to have come so close but lost but, massive credit to the Phoenix. They had been struggling for form recently but really came out and owned the game. Guildford are a quality quality team though and never let the game get too far ahead of them. They will do well and will probably win the cup against the Jets. The Phoenix though, can hold their heads high, it was a great performance and one to take into sunday night's game versus the Bison. 

Attendance: Not the best crowd, conversely sunday night's game was expected to be a sell-out! Ill guess at 800 in the Ice Dome. 

Phoenix 4 Guildford 3 (8-9) - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Guildford 3 (8-9) - Flames Article

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats 24th February Game Review

Coming off a loss to Guildford the previous weekend but, with a much improved form the Phoenix went into this weekend with a point to prove. A tough away game to Slough kicked off the weekend before a home tie against the Swindon Wildcats. The away game in Slough couldnt have gone any better, with the Phoenix third choice keeper in goal, the team worked hard and produced a superb 6-2 victory. 

That set up the home game versus Swindon, a big crowd came to the Ice Dome, the Phoenix had a chance for their first four point weekend in ages. 

First Period: Swindon have a very talented top line, beyond that away from their home ice they do not offer much to hurt EPL teams. That being said, that top line is something else! Nell and Hoog must have nearly 200 pts combined, an awesome pairing! The game began brightly, Jasz,.....not even going to attempt that one! Mr Smith, in goal for the Phoenix! The Phoenix looked to have snapped back into gear and were creating many chances only to find Murdy in top form. Chances came and went, the home faithful had to wait until the 15th minute to see the fist goal. 15min 20sec Mr Hand himself came in, approached the hashmarks, and unleashed a gorgeous shot to the top corner. One period, one goal and a lead for the Phoenix! 

Second Period: The goals began to flow in the second period as the game began to open up. The Phoenix extended their lead on 25min 23sec when Psurny scored on the powerplay. This area of the Phoenix play has really improved over the past few weeks, mind you, that wasn't hard to do!  Swindon got their mojo going and reduced the deficit two minutes later when Swindlehurst scored at 27min 52sec. Phoenix came right back when Neil scored after his shot was deflected past Murdy by a Swindon defenceman. The last goal of a frenetic second period came at 34min 52sec when Nell scored to make it 3-2 Phoenix. 

Third Period: Scores at 3-2 with 20 to go. This would be an entertaining finish to the game! Swindon made things interesting at 44min 57sec when 10 scored on the powerplay, to make it even. The game carried on with some great play from both sides. The Phoenix took the lead once again at 52min 18sec when Flaten scored. As the game wore down the Wildcats looked more and more desperate for the late equiliser. They surprised many when Swindon, with 3 minutes let in the game, decided to pull Murdy for the extra skater. As the game passed the two minutes left mark the puck broke for the Phoenix and Flaten found Psurny skating through the Swindon zone to easily score the Phoenix 5th of the night. 

Verdict: Another good effort for the Phoenix who have well and truly shrugged off their poor form of late and exploded with a great four point weekend. Swindon are dangerous but really lack the depth of scoring to make a push for the top of the EPL. Andrew Jaszz...Mr Smith performed admirably in goal and really didnt look like a fish out of water. His performances over the weekend, gave El-Hage a good weekend off and, reminded him, that his place as the Phoenix backup is no longer certain! 

Attendance: A great crowd for a sunday night, i'll guess at 1,200. 

Phoenix 6 Swindon 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Swindon 3 - Swindon Article
Phoenix 6 Swindon 3 - Cheshire Today