Last weekend was a huge one for the Phoenix, after news crept out about the withdrawal of Red Hockey support the Phoenix now face the possibility of not being able to finish the 15/16 EPL season. Saturday night saw the first leg of the 'War of the Roses' against the Sheffield Steeldogs, a game which was proceeded by a fan forum with Phoenix owner Neil Morris. There has already been coverage of the main points that came from that meeting via twitter/various forums so I won't go into detail. Other than to say, in essence, the Phoenix need £90k to finish the season! The impression I got from the meeting was, if the Phoenix can make it to the end of the season, the future is bright, very bright!
There are, of course, many fund raising efforts on the go, below I have a summary of what is ongoing and what is to come:
Phoenix Supporters Trust
Phoenix Podcast - Ben's Christmas Jumper
Phoenix Podcast - Chris Chirstmas Pants
@Oobze PTID Kickstarter
After all that, there were a few games played! The first leg of the War of the Roses saw both teams playing back up netminders, meaning Phoenix fans got to see Phil Spanswick in action for the first time. The game ended 5-4 to Sheffield which, I will admit, was disappointing. The Phoenix dominated the first two periods but, ran out of steam in the third and Sheffield deservedly worked their way back into the game. Bright spots for the Phoenix were Spanswick having a solid game in goal and, Jacob Corson-Heron dropping the gloves and owning his bought of fisticuffs.
Onto Sunday and a vitally important game versus the Bracknell Bees. If the Phoenix have any hope of extending their season its games like these they need to win.
First Period: Despite all the off-ice troubles the Phoenix hit the ice focussed and took the game to the Bees from the first puck drop. Rotating two lines (as that's all they could) the Phoenix kept the shifts short. Bees slowly to give as good as they got and the game settled into end to end hockey. Not the highest of quality but entertaining none the less. The first goal came on the powerplay to the home team. With Matt Foord sitting a 2 minute minor for slashing the Phoenix went on the PP. After cycling the puck, Ben Wood did well to keep it within the offensive zone, he wound up a shot on goal and, via a slight deflection from Robin Kovar the Phoenix took the lead. Goal timed at 11min 36sec.
Second Period: After their heroics in Swindon the night before, a one goal lead would not do for the Phoenix. The second began and was only 2min old when the Bees pulled level. A piece of excellent play saw Smital thread a pass out from behind Fone to Kostourek in front to fire home via the post. The game levelling goal coming at 22min 13sec. The game continued with neither side able to control for long periods. Fone pulled off a fantastic save from James Galazzi and Mettam responded to deny an awesome attempt from JCH. The Phoenix were then denied two 2-on-1 opportunities towards the end of the period as both teams went in 1-1.
Third Period: With it all to play for in the third the Phoenix, surprisingly, did not look too tired and really took the game to Bracknell. After Mettam had pulled off a great save to deny Trent Hope, the Phoenix did score their second goal. James Archer led the puck into the Bees zone and played a drop pass to Kovar who blasted home from the hash marks to give Phoenix the lead at 43min 25sec. Despite taking the lead the Phoenix continued to pile the pressure on Mettam only for the ninja goalie to deny them. Phoenix were, thankfully, able to closeout the period and the game, despite some 'intresting' calls from Perring in the final 5 minutes.
Verdict: After all the hoo haa off the ice it was so nice to get down to playing some Ice Hockey. Despite the ridiculously short bench the team on the ice played like a 4 line team! They matched the Bees shift for shift and ground out a superb win, a deserved one too! It was so pleasing to see the players come off the ice with a smile on their face and, the victory wave, which has been absent from the WMMP for a while!