The final weekend of the regular season had arrived, the Phoenix came into the weekend already confirmed as champions. In that sense the weekend was a dead rubber but, the team will still want to win to maintain form going into the playoff's. The final weekend of the season would still be tough for the Phoenix, an away trip saturday to the Peterborough Phantoms was followed by a home game versus the Telford Tigers.
Peterborough has not been an easy place for the Phoenix to go. Results have been mixed over the past season. The game would prove to be another tough one and close throughout. Though, the Phoenix were able to take the win scoring in overtime taking a 3-2 win. More worrying were reports, by Phoenix players no less, of the home fans throwing coins. James Neil being the unfortunate one who was hit by coins thrown by Phantoms fans. Not cool Peterborough, not cool!
With the win secured the Phoenix returned home to face up the Tigers in their last regular season game. A large contingent of Tigers fans joined the large home support to create a wonderful atmosphere for the last game of the season. A win for the Phoenix and they would end the season on 80 points and perfect momentum into the playoffs. A loss would see the season end on a damp squib and, possibly, hand the Tigers a slight mental advantage should the two sides meet in Coventry.
First Period: The puck dropped and off we went, the game was played at a fast pace with both sides putting pressure on the net minders. The Tigers and Phoenix putting together some great moves which kept the fans in attendance entertained. Telford opened the scoring when Davies lit the lamp with 7min 44sec gone sending the visiting fans crazy. The Tigers have some momentum about them and can be considered challengers for the post season crown. The game carried on at a high level, the intensity was great to watch. The Phoenix kept in the game putting more shots in on Ryan but had to wait until 14min 08sec before James Archer equalised for the home side.
Second Period: Tigers got the jump on in the second period when Timo Kuulivainen scored at 23min 12sec. Timo showing some of the skill that the Phoenix had hoped for before his injury. The period carried on with both teams playing end-to-end hockey, the Phoenix began to control the puck a bit more but it was the Tigers who would score next. Rose scoring at 38min 59sec with a superb shot from the blue line. Fone just didn't see it with the screen in front. The end of the period came and, despite creating more chances, the Phoenix headed into the break 3-1 down.
Third Period: A big big period needed for the Phoenix and they got one! Just 80sec into the period James Archer grabbed his second of the night. The Phoenix really upped the pressure looking for the equaliser but found Telford in resolute form. The Phoenix did find their way back into the game, on the penalty kill! With a man sat out the Phoenix levelled the game midway through the third period with the hattrick goal for James Archer, timed at 50min 50sec. The go-ahead goal came 30sec later, again on the penalty kill, when Tony Hand was found clear up ice, who skatyed in and unleashed a breathtaking shot to beat Ryan. The Phoenix ahead and the home fans going wild. Despite the lead Telford were still in the game and Kiviranta would force the extra session when he tapped in a great moved at 54min 27sec to tie the game.
Overtime: With the point secured and, with it the Phoenix would finish on at least 79 points the teams would fight it out for the extra point. Phoenix lost the faceoff but were able to regain possesion early on. The game would be decided quickly though, Michal Psurny, so often the hero this season, would do it again. The Phoenix broke up ice, with Psurny driving the net, who then pulled off a lovely move to make Ryan spread across the goal opening up the gap. Psurny scoring at 61mins to give the Phoenix the win.
Verdict: A fantastic game to cap off an excellent season for the Phoenix. Credit to the Tigers fans for clapping the Phoenix onto the Ice and for sticking around after the final whistle. Both teams played their part in the game and will both take the positives from it into the post season. The Phoenix will be pleased to have the edge over the Tigers should they meet in Coventry.
Attendance: Another big crowd in the Ice Dome, 1,800.
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