The Phoenix unbeaten start to the 13/14 EPL season would receive a stern test this past weekend, mainly from the away trip to the Swindon Wildcats. Swindon, away, have been the Phoenix bogey team with the Link centre not being a happy hunting ground for us. Over the summer Swindon have added the EPL's best netminder from last season Stevie Lyle and also retained the services of Jonas Hoog once of the leagues best forwards. On the flip side they lost Aaron Nell to the Steelers and, Matt Towe left a month after signing. With that in mind as the game faced off and the updates came through it was amazing to see the Phoenix take the lead and close out the Wildcats for a superb 4-0 victory.
With that win in the bag the Phoenix returned home to take on the Peterborough Phantoms. The Phantoms are a team the Phoenix should beat at home but, can prove to be a tricky opposition at times. Phantoms have lost a few players who were linchpins of their roster over a number of seasons. Players like Ziedins/Lauko who have retired and Carlon/Norton and Graham who have left to find new clubs. This would be The Angry Budgie's first game back after a week off.......I know......part time fan!
First Period: The opening stages were bossed by the Phoenix, the home side had more of the puck and began to lay some rubber on King in the Phantoms net. Fairly early on you could get the feeling the Phantoms were struggling to keep the Phoenix out of their zone and away from the net. With the Phoenix dominating the Phantoms were limited to the odd break away into the Phoenix zone and shots from the blue line, which Fone was more than equal too. The first goal, inevitably, came for the Phoenix when Liam Chong continued his good start to the season scoring the Phoenix first goal at 8min 45sec. Also clear from the opening minutes was that Tony had mixed up the lines putting Watkins out with Psurny and Bakrlik and Kovar anchoring the second line. Kovar is really starting to impress and it was Robin who scored the Phoenix second at 13min 05sec. Just about two minutes later and Bakrlik scored an awesome goal, there will be few goalies who can stop a wrister from him! His goal and the Phoenix third coming at 15min 43sec.
Second Period: Even at this early stage the atmosphere in the Ice Dome began to fall a little flat, mainly because it was clear that there was not much of a contest out on the Ice. It was a shame to see but pleasing for the home fans, the Phoenix dominance was pretty complete. The first goal of the period came from Bakrlik with another strong shot that blew past King, timed 23min 16sec. The last half of the period saw the Phoenix seal the win with three additional goals. Not wanting to be outdone by his fellow Czech, Michal Psurny got his first of the night at 31min 58sec. Bakrlik got his hat-trick goal at 34min 26sec and James Archer rounded off the scoring, making it 7-0 at 38min 10sec with a deserved goal.
Third Period: With the game won bar the shouting, Tony Hand took the decision to rest up for the third period and ice El-Hage for the final session. This is a tactic I can see happening alot this season if the Phoenix are able to establish a good lead in a game. The pace of the period was markedly lower than the previous two but still followed the same pattern. Phoenix scored again at 45min 06sec when Psurny got his second and the Phoenix 8th goal of the game. As the period progressed the Phantoms got a penalty shot, deservedly so, after Boothroyd had hooked Zubek who was clear through. Some interest injected into the game but, it was a poor penalty shot effort which El-Hage found easy to deflect wide of the goal. A big opportunity missed to give the few travelling Phantoms fans something to cheer about. With the away challenge more or less over the Phoenix added a further three goals in the last 10 minutes with goals from Kovar (2nd of the night) Bakrlik (4th of the night) and Chong (2nd of the night) coming at, 52min 48sec/54min 34sec and 55min 20sec respectively to round off a crushing 11-0 victory.
Verdict: In the end this was far from a classic, im not sure what to make of the Phantoms off this performance. They have caused the Phoenix some heart stopping moments but sundays performance was far from it, they really didn't look like a team out on the ice. King in goal was hung out to dry on so many occasions! It was probably a combination of a poor Phantoms performance and an utterly dominant Phoenix one! On the drive home I was thinking about the game and, how it really wasn't a great watch. The hockey purist in me wants more from a game, a bit of opposition and fight from the away team but that was lacking. A newbie would have been please though, 11 goal and a bit of a fight? That's what you'd want right? Anyway, a win is a win and, 11-0 does wonders for the goal difference! Who knows this big win, and the big win against the Steeldogs, could be vital come March!
Attendance: Fairly small crowd compared to recent games, i'll guess at 900 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 11 Peterborough 0 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 11 Peterborough 0 - Peterborough Today
Phoenix 11 Peterborough 0 - Bolton News