The Phoenix season continued with the men from Altrincham making the simple trip down to Swindon to take on the Wildcats saturday night. The weekend would be rounded off by the Phoenix welcoming the Bracknell Bees to the Ice Dome. The Wildcats are a tricky team to play, especially on their home ice. With Lyle in goal the Wildcats are an excellent defensive team, and with Hoog no returning for the start of the season, its been Aaron Nell and import forward Tomasz Malasinski leading the way. Although in recent weeks the Wildcats have 'done a Guildford' and re-signed Jonas Hoog as their 5th import.
Wildcats 4 Phoenix 2 - Phoenix Article
Wildcats 4 Phoenix 2 - Wildcats Article
Phoenix were still without starting netminder Steve Fone and overall the game looked to have been quite even. Phoenix lost Bakrlik to a high stick penalty and it seemed to fall a part soon after. The Wildcats running our 4-2 victors. Check out this weeks Below Average Sports Cast as im sure, Swindon correspondent Scuttsy will fill us in on the game!
Sunday night saw the Bees come to Altrincham, currently the Bracknell Bees sit at the foot of the EPIHL table through a combination of injuries and a number of important players leaving. Current Phoenix Shaun Thompson being one of them and influential, and top point scorer, player coach Lukas Smital out through injury. When you look at their roster and poinst so far, when you loose your top scorer, the rest of the roster is not putting up great numbers. So you can see why they are where they are in the table. Ivan Antonov and Radek Hubacek the only other players in double figures so far this season.
The game would also see the debut for Gareth O'Flaherty, in Phoenix colours for the first time this season the Phoenix have Gareth on a two-way deal with the Coventry Blaze. Not icing for the Phoenix were Bobby Chamberlain and Jack Watkins. Off we went to the Ice Dome and, despite their league placing, I think the Bees now beat Guildford in the 'fancy bus' stakes! Perhaps the budget is being spent in the wrong place?
First Period: In front of a big crowd, swelled by Groupon first timers, the teams took to the ice for the first puck drop. From the first whistle the Phoenix controlled the game and were on top. The home side would put up an impressive 23 shots in the first period alone. Despite sporading attacks by the Bees, it was no surprise when the home side took the lead. A Frankie Bakrlik shot was tipped infront of Mettam by Archer to give the Phoenix the lead at 4min 44sec on the powerplay. Archer has found himself a role sat in front of the net, especially on powerplays and, a good few of his recent goals have come this way. Phoenix continued to attach the Bees and a second goal came with just 12sec left on the clock. Again on the powerplay the Phoenix worked the puck around the boards back to Bakrlik on the point. With time to wind up, Bakrlik unleashed one of his monster slapshots which went through Mettam and into the net. Mettam got a glove hand to it but, the sheer power carried the puck into the net.
Second Period: After going behind the Bees re-grouped and came out with a bit more effort in the second period. Getting a few more chances the Bees found Ryan in good form in the Phoenix net. With the Phoenix controlling possession it would be possible to catch Ryan cold but, the Phoenix netminder was up to the task. The next goal came for the home side at the half hour mark when Frankie Bakrlik got his second of the night at 29min 59sec from Neal and Kovar, Robin would get his reward for some hard work by getting on the score sheet himself with a goal, time at 36min 28sec, Bakrlik and Thompson with the helpers. The rest of the period settled down as the game looked to be out of Bracknell's reach at this point.
Third Period: Phoenix began the third period in control and increased the margin when Kovar scored a very neat back post goal, his second of the night at 43min 28sec. As the period wore on the Phoenix were still creating chances and it was #Bootherscoringmachine would would increase the lead to 6 at 51min 59sec. Taking the puck in from the corner Boothroyd roofed the puck over Mettam for a superb solo goal. The game was killed off just 29 seconds later when Sir Toe Knee of Hand fired in the Phoenix 7th of the night at 52min 28sec.
Verdict: With a big crowd in full of newbies it was important for the Phoenix to get the win. With a poor Bees side in opposition they did just that, an important two points, especially after loosing in Swindon the night before. Not a pretty win by any means but, the scoreline and some of the hits will impress the newbies, the rest of us knowing the result was more important. Difficult to see any other position than 9th for the Bees this season. Not much going on for them, with Smital off the ice. More surprising for me was seeing Towalski on the ice for the Bees, and being kept quiet. Towalski is a top top player, someone i'd love to see in Phoenix colours.
Attendance: Big crowd in the Ice Dome, i'll gues at 1,850
Phoenix 7 Bees 0 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 7 Bees 0 - Bees Article