After Telford had broken the Phoenix superb home record the weekend before, the Sheffield Steeldogs were the next side in town. The Phoenix would have to dig deep for this one as games versus Sheffield are far from pretty. It would be tough, no two ways about it, Sheffield play a hard chippy game and one that frequently crosses the line. We all know this so, it was down to the Phoenix to deal with it.
First Period: The game got underway with both sets of fans making lots of noise. The game on the ice started feisty, which is no surprise, and hockey was hard to come by in the early exchanges. Fone had started well in the Phoenix net but, Sedlar was pulling off some amazing saves to keep Sheffield in the game. All the pressure, by the Phoenix, finally told. At 15min 38sec Robin Kovar finally broke the deadlock to put the home side ahead. With the first goal scored the game opened up and the Phoenix began to edge the play. A few minutes later Jack Watkins scored a blast of a shot at 17min 11sec to increase the home sides advantage. The Phoenix were cruising but, perhaps because of that, a lapse of concentration cost them a perfect period. Into the last minute Joe Graham had the puck and cleared up ice without looking. The puck went right between two Sheffield players, who skated in un-marked to score. Korhun getting the goal at 19min 21sec.
Second Period: This would be a tough period for the Phoenix. They would have to get over the disappointment of conceding so late in the first and the manner of the goal too. As the puck dropped, it seemed like the Phoenix were still in the dressing room. There were some worrying lapses in defence and the passing was not clicking at all. The first 4 minutes of the period would proved to be vital. Sheffield got the early goal to tie the game, at 22min 45sec through Greg Wood, then less than a minute later Korhun put the visitors ahead, scoring the Steeldogs third at 23min 36sec. The home fans were in shock but, the two goal salvo did at least wake the Phoenix. With composure returning the Phoenix began to lay siege to Sedlar's goal only to find the Sheffield nettie in outstanding form.
Third Period: 20 minutes for the Phoenix to pull the game back from the brink. The Steeldogs continued to play their usual game which frustrates the Phoenix, perfect road game in a way! Sedlar continued to face the vast majority of shots but, try as they may, the Phoenix just could not get through. The action % on the rink must have been hugely in the Phoenix favour, with the puck spending most of the period in the Sheffield end. Credit to Andre though, the Sheffield team are a hard unit to break down. Much to the home fans dismay the clock continued to tick down until, ultimately, the buzzer went and confined the Phoenix to a second home loss in a row.
Verdict: Another frustrating home loss for the Phoenix. A game where a needless D zone mistake gave the visitors a way back in to the game. Had the Phoenix gone in 2-0 up I am confident they would have won. Sheffield did what they always did, and seem to get away with in the EPL, got their nose in front and sat back. Sedlar, justifiably, got their MOM award, he was simply outstanding!
Attendance: A good crowd for the derby game, 1,300.
Phoenix 2 Sheffield 3 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 2 Sheffield 3 - The Bolton News
Phoenix 2 Sheffield 3 - Steeldogs Article