Following the Phoenix excellent win against the Bees the season would be rounded off by the visit of the Swindon Wildcats. This season Swindon have been much improved in the EPL when compared to recent seasons. After the win the previous night, Phoenix had secured 6th place in the table and had nothing but pride riding on this game, for Swindon however, they were battling with the Phantoms for 4th or 5th place in the table. A win for them would see them above the Peterborough outfit so, this would be a competitive game.
The game would also see the last groupon game of the season so, a large crowd swelled the stands as all rose to welcome a certain Tony Hand onto the ice for his last regular season game in his career.
First Period: The game opened up with franetic pace, both teams forwards sharp and testing Fone and Lyle right from the opening puck drop. Phoenix took the early initiative firing two quick goals past Lyle. Frankie Bakrlik scored the first goal at 6min 46sec then Robin Kovar added a second at 7min 51sec. Kovar's effort was a fantastic one man effort. Feeding on a past from Archer Kovar took the puck down the ice, deked Lyle, then circled the net to score an excellent wrap around effort. One for the highlight reel! Fans across the EPL know, Swindon do have a talented team and, one of the best top lines in the league. It was that firepower that would shock the Phoenix and, in the space of about 2 and a half minutes would see the Wildcats surge ahead in the game. Malasinski got the Wildcats on the board at 14min 44sec before two superb goals from Aaron Nell. His first coming at 15min 29sec then, Phoenix gave him the freedom of the Ice Dome to get the Cats third at 17min 02sec. A real shock to the Phoenix system but a deserved lead for the Cats heading into the interval.
Second Period: Ex Phoenix captain Kenton Smith took a slashing penalty early in the second period which sent out the Phoenix powerplay unit. After working the puck around the zone, good interplay between Frankie and Tony saw the puck passed to Adam Walker who scored close in on Lyle, levelling the scores at 25min 32sec. We all know Lyle is a superb netminder at this level, so, one of the best ways past him is to screen him or get in his face. Frankie Bakrlik gave the Phoenix the lead once more when he shot through a screen to score after 26min 59sec. The period continued with great end to end hockey and, the Wildcats kept in touch by scoring with just 6sec left on the clock, Bullas with the Cats goal.
Third Period: With the scores level, the Wildcats needed just one point to secure 4th place. This meant the third period was played at a furious pace and the goals kept coming! Swindon took the lead at 47min 19sec when Loris Taylor took a speculative shot which deceived Steve Fone. The game had been played at such a high standard, the goals too, the Phoenix 5th goal was a highlight. Frankie Bakrlik found Robin Kovar who weaved his way through the Wildcats defence and took a quick wrist shot which beat Lyle, game tied once again at 51min 07sec. I dont think either set of fans would have minded had the game ended 5-5. One last sting in the tail though, in the dying minute, Burlin sent a long shot in on Lyle who coughed up a juicy rebound, Adam Walker, the lone man following it in pounced and lifted the rebound over Lyle into the roof of the night. Scoring the winner with just 26sec left on the clock. The Ice Dome erupted and the Wildcats defeated.
Verdict: What a game, a real goalfest and 60 minutes of fast paced intense hockey. Swindon were unlucky not to leave with a point and, in doing so, were unable to take 4th place in the league. Phoenix did deserve some points from the game and, will feel justified in taking the win. The depleted bench performed admirably against a very good Cats side. The game winner being the icing on the cake!
Attendance: Another big groupon crowd sunday night, i'll say 1,800 in the Ice Dome.
Phoenix 6 Swindon 5 - -Phoenix Article
Phoenix 6 Swindon 5 - Wildcats Article