After the Phoenix hit 11 past Peterborough the previous weekend the Phoenix faced a tougher weekend against the MK Lightning and Slough Jets. MK have always give the Phoenix a good game so, on saturday the Phoenix went down to Coventry (MK's temporary home for the season) for their first meeting of the season. The Phoenix mean defense was on form again as the guys returned to Manchester with a 3-1 victory.
Sunday meant Slough and the return, again, of former Phoenix players Ciaran Long and Dave Koulikov. The Phoenix should usually win games against Slough at home but, the Jet's do have quality to cause an upset. Ales Padelek is a new import for the Jets and joins Supercalifragilistic Darius Pliskauskas (thanks Paddy) who cane do some damage. The fans gathered at the Ice Dome to see if the Phoenix could make it another 4 point weekend or, the Jet's would be the party poopers!
First Period: The atmosphere in the Ice Dome was fantastic in the early stages, for a big tin shed the Ice Dome does create great noise from the stands. The atmosphere rubbed off on the home players the Phoenix made a strong start. With the Phoenix putting pressure on, the recently returning, Rockman it was only a matter of time before the first goal came. Many a Phoenix fan will lament we are often more dangerous on the penalty kill, it was a short handed situation with which the Phoenix opened the scoring. The Phoenix forced a turnover and Hand took the puck up ice with Bakrlik, a short cross ice pass and Bakrlik gave Rockman no chance with his shot. First goal coming at 5min 26sec. The Phoenix continued to pressure Slough, their fore-checking and play in centre ice being a real highlight. Slough just couldn't get enough quality puck in the Phoenix zone. The second goal for the Phoenix came mid-way through the first period. Michal Psurny getting in on the scoring act at 11min 50sec. The period continued with the Phoenix pressuring and Fone looking in good form.
Second Period: The second period saw a goal fest, timeout and 3 goals in 2 minutes. With the Phoenix camping out in the opposition zone it took the home side a little over 4 minutes into the period to score their third goal of the night. After some good play down the wing, Tony Hand found himself on the back post with the puck and a sprawling Rockman. From behind the goal line he managed to jab the puck home and increase the lead, scoring at 24min 39sec. Phoenix were still creating chances and pushing Rockman into giving up re-bounds. The Phoenix scored again at 26min 10sec when Bakrlik added to his impressive goal tally. Liam Chong continued to scoring just under two minutes later when he made it 5-0 Phoenix at 28min 43sec. The 5th goal prompted a timeout from the Jets. So far in the game the Jets looked a little lost in defence and were just not helping Rockman when ever he gave up re-bounds. Unfortunately it did not seem to do the visitors any good as Robin Kovar scored for the Phoenix at 29min 50sec. The game passed it's halfway mark and the Jets finally got on the board, Ales Padelek finding some space and picking up a rare rebound from Fone to slot the puck home, scoring the Jets first at 35min 26sec. This goal provoked the Phoenix into a deadly show of offence, James Archer scored his first of the night at 36min 23sec, followed by Michal Psurny just 23 seconds later, his goal timed at 36min 46sec. Jack Watkins rounded off the Phoenix burst of scoring with his goal timed at 38min 24sec. An astonishing 7 goal second period that blew the Jets off the ice.
Third Period: As with the Peterborough game the previous weekend Tony Hand chose not to ice for the third period and to rest Steve Fone. So El-Hage once again getting a useful 20min period out on the ice. With the game won the Phoenix could afford to wind down a little, having said that they were still able to keep the Jet's at bay for most of the period. The goals did keep coming however and, man-of-the-match James Archer got his second of the night at 48min 01sec. A minute later the impressive Bentham made it 11 for the Phoenix scoring at 49min 14sec. The period saw the Phoenix loose Jacob Corson-Heron with a 5minute match penalty for slashing. No issue with the call as it did draw blood, more issue is the high stick one Tony Hand in the first period that drew blood but was not called....go figure! With the Jet's on a 5 minute powerplay they would get their second of the game early on in the PP. Wales scoring at 53min 34sec. Final goal of the game came for Liam Chong, we are really seeing the player we have waited a whole season for! On a 2-on-1 break Liam delayed a pass across and instead opted to shoot, scoring a short handed goal at 56min 30sec. With the scoreboard reading Phoenix 12 Slough 2 the final 4/5 minutes were spent at half pace as both teams watched the clock run down.
Verdict: Simply astonished at the scoreline, I know the Phoenix are good this year but, I expected more from the Jets. Even with Tambo insisting on the podcast the Jets have no D, they are a good team and have some talented players. The Phoenix look scary good and look to have some awesome firepower. Another good weekend and wonders for the goal difference. At the time of writing the Jet's have acted and made changes, surprising many fans and players too, they have chosen to release Ryan Watt. Strange decision as he could be seen as one of the go-to energy players on the line-up but, he 'was not fulfilling the role intended' according to the club!
Attendance: Maybe a little down on normal, the lack of a tram service will have affected some who usually come to games at the Ice Dome. I'll guess at 8-900 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 12 Slough 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 12 Slough 2 - The Bolton News
Phoenix 12 Slough 2 - Slough Article
Phoenix 12 Slough 2 - Game Sheet