Time to dust this blog off and get the hockey juices flowing again! I apologise the lack of updates on this blog over the past few weeks, I blame myself! Been off on my own honeymoon visiting far away lands! Anyway it was back with a bang, arriving back saturday morning it was back to the Ice Dome and my regular sunday engagement with the Phoenix. The visitors tonight were the Telford Tigers version 2.0! Much has been said of the Tigers recent transformation and the switch in ethos that seems to have happened, from fan ownership to wealthy benefactor. Im sure many of you have read and, even participated in those discussions in the EPL hockey community.
For me, Tigers fans just have to be careful. Much goodwill was afforded their club when they rose from the ashes and, it seems that goodwill is eroding quite quickly! Anyway, enough about that, the game!
First Period: This new look Tigers team is very impressive. Even from the early minutes of this game they have skill, strength in depth and desire. The Tigers took it to the Phoenix from the off and got their reward after just 2 minutes. Scott McKenzie getting the visitors on the board first. The Phoenix slowly began to get their act together and get into the game, as Telford were dominating the early stages. The Phoenix did get on the board midway through the first session with Michal Psurny getting the goal at 11min 37sec. After the shaky start the Phoenix began to exert some control over the period but Telford were still in the game.
Second Period: The second period would turn out to be the key in the game, Telford got the first goal on the powerplay at 22min 26sec from Rick Plant. A few minutes after the goal the games controversial moment happened. With Ryan's stick behind the goal and no player to assist the referee took the stick and handed it to him. To the fans this was unfair but, according to the officials there is no rule against it. Make of that what you will! The Phoenix fans anger was not helped when the Tigers went 2 clear with another powerplay goal at 29min 18sec when Miller made it 1-3. With the game beginning to slip the Phoenix needed to get something working. They were handed an opportunity on the powerplay and Robert Schnabel 'did a Boother' and scored on the back post. Really nice finish, at 35min 35sec. The Phoenix then had another PP opportunity but could not capitalise, then, in the last 30sec the Tigers killed the game. At 39.34 Rick Plant made it 2-4 then, a real killer goal as the buzzer sounded Adam Walker sliding the puck under Fone to make it 2-5. Game over!
Third Period: For me the game was over, the second period was horrible for the Phoenix and, with the Tigers looking so good and confident it would be tough, nigh on impossible, to rescue the game. That being said, the Phoenix made a game of it and competed, Tony Hand even scoring a PPG at 46min 34sec to create a slight glimmer of hope. Just after the halfway mark that glimmer was extinguished. With the Phoenix on the PPG, the Tigers scored a short handed goal to close out the game. The puck taking a freak bounce leaving Fone stranded and Kirinvanta free to score. The goal coming at 51min 32sec.
Verdict: The Tigers v2 will be challenging for the title next year if their bigger budget remains. They were skilful, confident and had that strength in depth you need to be challenging at the top. For the Phoenix it was a weekend to forget, they were not far off the game but it was not a good all round performance either. Absolutely no issues with the result or scoreline for me!
Attendance: A good crowd in, i'll say 1,200
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