As Christmas approaches the EPL season continues apace. The Phoenix faced two tricky games over last weekend, a trip down the motorway to the link centre for their second game against the Wildcats in Swindon. Then, sunday, a home game against the MK Lightning. The trip to Swindon saw the Phoenix getting another superb road win. The Link centre has been a difficult hunting ground for the Phoenix, in the past, this season the Phoenix have done well.
Sunday's visit of the MK Lightning was also the fist game on a recent Groupon offer the Phoenix had put out. The Phoenix did this last season with some success. Tonight's game saw a larger crowd come to the Ice Dome, so much so that the face off was delayed. MK were without a number of players, some through injury and some who were off playing for GB U20's, Phoenix were at full strength.
First Period: Off we went, the early stages were fairly even. Both Fone and Wall were called into action but both goalies were in good form. Phoenix put more shots on goal in the early stages but, MK were lightning fast (bdum tsch) on the break. Phoenix took the lead when Tony Hand skated up ice and, using a screen in front of Wall, put a shot on goal, timed at 7min 16sec.. The light lit and the home fans celebrated. Against MK it is always advisable to get the first goal. As the period progressed the Phoenix began to take some control but, as the period entered the final 5 minutes, the Phoenix gave up three breakaway chances which sent pulses racing, In fact the posts had come to the Phoenix aid a few times during the period! As the period ended, with the way the Phoenix were defending it was no surprise MK found their equilizer. The goal coming from Lascek at 19min 48sec.
Second Period: The Phoenix started to take some control in the second period, MK were not playing to their usual strengths. There was not the same level of physicality from MK and this allowed the Phoenix the control. Phoenix were putting more and more shots on Wall but, like his name, he was proving difficult to get past. The Phoenix defence, while allowing some chances, started to shut the door and deny MK clear cut chances. The Phoenix took the lead when Michal Psurny scored a powerplay goal, timed at 27min 03sec. The Phoenix also took a bad penalty in the second period, in reality it was an appalling call from the referee. Bakrlik took a hit behind the MK net with an MK player leaving blood on the ice. The call was a 5 plus match for accidental high sticks, in reality it was an elbow. The penalty kill would prove to be huge, the Phoenix got through it without conceding, which was a big blow to MK.
Third Period: The third period began and MK looked a little tired in the early stages. The short bench was really starting to affect the away team but, it didn't stop them creating a few chances. The game would turn on a 40 second passage of play mid way through the third period. The Phoenix extended their lead at 49min 05sec when Schnabel unleashed a booming shot from the blue line. One for the highlight reel I think! Then, just as the crowd was taking its seats and the announcement was being made, the Phoenix scored again. Richie Bentham scoring at 49min 45sec. The scoreboard now read 4-1 Phoenix and the MK fight began to fade.
Verdict: A cracking win for the Phoenix, albeit against a weakened MK team. But a win is a win, the Phoenix played well, the early defensive wobbles were ironed out quickly and the forwards took their chances. The only blight was the horrendous call on Bakrlik. Even MK fans agreed it was a BS call, thankfully it will be downgraded to a game penalty. Even so, it was rubbish!
Attendance: With the groupon offer the crowd was bigger than usual, i'll guess at 1,600 in the Ice Dome.
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Phoenix 4 MK 1 - MK Article
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