The Angry Budgie Live

Friday, 27 February 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 22nd February Guildford Flames

Last sunday saw the last home instalment of the #PyroDerby with the Guildford Flames arriving, albeit a little late, to the Ice Dome. Flames were coming into this game in second place and on a 7 game winning run. Phoenix, while playing better, were still not finding a consistent run. That being said, games between the two sides are always good fun and a great watch. So, after a slight delay, a large crowd took their seats to enjoy some hockey. 

First Period: Phoenix got off to a great start by controlling the game and keeping Hadfield under constant pressure. The Phoenix had a number of early chances through breakaway's. Frankie Bakrlik coming close early on when he was put through on goal. Then, after the 7min mark, Bakrlik was put through once again and, after the earlier sighter, made no mistake second time round. Slotting home a lovely goal, timed at 7min 33sec. Phoenix continued to dominate the period, the Flames were eking out their own chances but were finding Fone in top form. Despite the dominance the period would end with the scores level. After some good work by the Flames in the corner the puck found its way to the net with no-one reacting. It was Longstaff who reacted first and banked the puck in off Fone's skate to level the game. The Flames goal coming at 18min 42sec. 

Second Period: The Phoenix train kept rolling in the second piling more and more pressure on Hadfield and the Flames defence. Flames working hard to keep the Phoenix out and the Phoenix were limiting the clear chances for the Flames. The period would see only one goal, it came for the home side as the Phoenix took the lead once again. The Phoenix third line has been a highlight this second half of the season, their hard work and tenacity, perhaps, not getting their rewards when they should. The only goal of the period came for the third line, after some great work by Walker and Graham, Bobby Chamberlain capped off the move with the goal. Time at 33min 01sec. 

Third Period: Began close but, around the halfway mark in the period, the game exploded into life. Guildford levelled the game once again when Danny Meyers scored a superb powerplay goal at 51min 11sec to tie the game. That situation only lasted 50sec until the Phoenix re-took the lead. Bobby Chamberlain scored his second of the night with assists from Kovar and Thompson, goal coming at 51min 01sec. Another highlight reel goal followed from the Phoenix new scoring machine, Joe Graham. Joe has really improved over the year and, his new found confidence is showing. Graham scoring the Phoenix 4th goal at 54min 12sec. The late arrival and the blitz in the third period began to take their toll on the Flames as they began to tire. So, a 5th goal followed on the powerplay. Robin Kovar getting his name on the scoresheet at 57min 02sec. The period ended with the Phoenix domination underlined, outshooting the Flames 22-8 in the final session! 

Verdict: Superb performance from the Phoenix, dominating for the majority of the game against the second best team in the EPL. Its games and performances such as this that offer a glimpse of what this season could have been for the Phoenix. Tambo mentioned, off air on the podcast, that the Phoenix have lost 65ish games to injury, that's an incredible stat! Still, going into the playoffs and, the Cup final against Telford, the Phoenix is rising! Performances are improving and, Captain Boothroyd is edging closer to a return to the ice. 

Attendance: Big crowd in the ice dome for a top game, 1,200 in. 


Phoenix 5 Guildford 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Guildford 2 - Flames Article
Phoenix 5 Guildford 2 - Get Surrey

Phoenix TV:
 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 15th February MK Lightning

After a week of playing the Swindon Wildcats the Phoenix, finally, welcomed different opposition to the Altrincham Ice Dome. The MK Lightning were the team in town, making their final trip north to Altrincham of the season. MK, like the Phoenix, are having an in-consistent season, plagued with injuries neither team has been able to solidify any kind of long run of results. For the Phoenix, the wins at home against Swindon, especially the big cup blowout, were glimpses of what could have been for the Phoenix this season. MK, perhaps, are at the point where they need to blow up the roster and bring some flesh blood in. Refresh the team, with the renewed Ice Rink, 2015/16 could be a big year for MK! 

The Phoenix have a mixed record against the MK Lightning, winning at home in Altrincham and a win/loss record at the Thunder Dome. Phoenix went into the game without the services of their captain Luke Boothroyd and Jack Watkins. 

First Period: Phoenix started slowly in the game, perhaps the result of spending most of saturday on a bus! MK made the early running and had the early chances on Steve Fone. Phoenix would take the lead just before the halfway mark of the period when the 3rd line would combine to produce a superb goal. Corson-Heron and Walker combined to fine Chamberlain free on the back post who slotted home into an open net. Wall and the MK defence having been pulled out of position. That goal coming at 9min 44sec. The first of a few big incidents happened towards the end of the first period. John Connolly high sticked Adam Walker, drawing blood, which resulted in an automatic match penalty. On the resulting powerplay the Phoenix extended their lead when Kovar fired in from the blue line past a screened Wall. Goal timed at 19min 43sec. A further kerfuffle followed at the buzzer, MK picking up a bench penalty. 

Second Period: With both teams up to speed the second opened with even play between the two sides, Wall and Fone in top form to deny the chances. Phoenix would score the next goal at 37min 27sec when Kovar and Bakrlik combined to feed Thomspon in acres of room who scored for the Phoenix. The period settled into a pattern with neither side asserting full dominance in the game, and Wall and Fone dealing with the shots that came their way. 

Third Period: The final session opened with two bazar goals, MK scored their first of the game, quite deservedly too. At 45min 51sec Corson-Heron deflected a puck past Fone into the goal, Leigh Jamieson being credited with the marker. Phoenix followed that up, minutes later, with their own wacky goal. Hand had the puck in the corner slowing the play down. With a crowd in front of Wall, Hand fired the puck in and banked the goal via another deflection. Hand's goal timed at 47min 43sec. As the game moved into its last 10 minutes, the Phoenix extended their lead once again with a superb short handed goal from Robin Kovar, the Phoenix 5th coming at 51min 53sec. That lit the blue touch paper and the game exploded with ill-discipline. Bakrlik and McPherson had a coming together which resulted in 10mins of penalties for Frankie and 8 for Grant. Then, in the last minute Corson-Heron and Kosturek had a big coming together on our near boards, meaning I couldn't see it unfortunately. The resulting penalty mess had both players recieving 6 minutes each in minor penalties. Corson-Heron getting an additional 10 minute incitement penalty, and Kosturek getting additional penalties for a check-to-the-head and two attempted spearing penalties. It really was a long announcement on those! 

Verdict: Another good win for the Phoenix at home in the Ice Dome. A win which came from hard work and grit! The Phoenix showed they would not be pushed around and, gave as good as they got! Phoenix looked in control for most of the game and, if they can keep this sort of play up. they should have a good run going come playoff time! 

Attendance: Good crowd at the Ice Dome, 1,100. 


Phoenix 5 MK 1 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 MK 1 - MK Article

Phoenix TV:


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 8th February Swindon Wildcats

Last sunday saw the Phoenix and Wildcats continue a remarkable two weeks where they would play each other 4 times. Starting with the Challenge cup first leg in Swidnon (tied 3-3), the two sides met sunday in Altrincham for an EPL clash. Before playing the Challenge cup second leg (thursday) and an away EPL clash this saturday. By this weekend the players and fans will be sick of each other! The plus side being, the games are usually good ones to watch! 

Sunday nights EPL game would serve as a good marker for the 2nd leg cup game, also taking place in Altrincham. Phoenix were still without their captain Luke Boothroyd and, to my knowledge, Swindon were at full strength. 

First Period: The game began at a fantastic pace, both teams in good form testing the goaltenders early on. Phoenix edged the first 5 minutes pressuring Lyle into some great saves. Bakrlik picked up his usual early penalty from ref Brown and, the powerplay brought the Wildcats into the game. The penalty was killed off but, it was the Wildcats who would take the lead first. Kostal scoring at 15min 28sec on a tight angle on Steve Fone. The period ended with the Wildcats fortunate to be ahead, both sides playing well and, in fairness, the teams should have been level. 

Second Period: With former Phoenix man Kenton Smith in the penalty box the Phoenix equalised early in the second period. Frankie Bakrlik getting some revenge with a well taken goal at 20min 31sec. Scores level and the period picked up where the first left off, with some great end to end hockey. Swindon re-took the lead approaching the half way mark in the game. When, at 29min 27sec, they capitalised on a poor Phoenix line change which gave Kana all sorts of time and space to score. In a sign of what was to come, ref Brown gave a stange holding call on Bakrlik, despite Bakrlik being sat on by Shane Moore....go figure! Moore also picking up the same penalty. Phoenix would level the game again at 37min 58sec when Bobby Chamberlain manage to fool Lyle, winding up for a slapshot, Bobby released a slower shot which trickled past Lyle into the Swindon goal. 

Third Period: Scores level, 20minutes to settle it! Phoenix got the best possible start by scoring early in the final session. Robin Kovar getting the puck down low and banking it into the goal of Lyle's skates. Phoenix 3rd timed at 42min 07sec. Then, possibly the most controversial moment of the game, Phoenix on a break with Hand on the puck. Hand takes a shot, scores, but the goal is washed off as the net had been kicked off by Lyle. I can say kicked off as Lyle was assessed a two minute penalty for delay of game. Needless to say Phoenix players and fans were not too happy with this. It did seem to affect Lyle though, his play for the next few minutes was awful. Not looking sure of himself at all, he played like he knew what he did! A recent TV comedy show said, 'Karma's a funny thing' and, perhaps it was Karma but Phoenix got their vengeance soon after. Tony Hand scoring again, this time officially, at 46min 02sec when he scored from the back post. With a clear gap on the scoreboard the Phoenix really took control and, would add one further goal before the buzzer. On the powerplay, Kovar found Psurny who roofed the puck, scoring the Phoenix 5th at 58min 12sec. 

Verdict: A really good game of hockey between two excellent teams. Phoenix proving that, despite their season, on their day they can beat anyone in this league. It was a good win and a good marker for the cup 2nd leg to follow. Also pleasing that karma came back and bit Lyle on the ass for his actions. 

Attendance: Good crowd in the Dome, i'll guess at 1,000. 


Phoenix 5 Swindon 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Swindon 2 - Wildcats Article
Phoenix 5 Swindon 2 - Swindon Advertiser

Phoenix TV:


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 1st February Basingstoke Bison

The weekend saw the Phoenix make another trip down to the renewed Thunderdome to take on the MK Lightning. Which was followed up by the Bison making their last trip north of the regular season and, the last game in the series between the two clubs. Phoenix have often struggled away against MK, despite having a good record in Altrincham against the Lightning, just how it goes sometimes! This trip south would result in a loss, but a close one for the Phoenix. The game also saw the debut of Curtis Huppe in Lightning colours, who signed for MK the day before the registration deadline from the Belfast Giants. In what sounded like an entertaining game, MK would hold on to win 5-4. 

MK 5 Phoenix 4 - MK Article
MK 5 Phoenix 4 - Phoenix Article

After the loss away to MK, Phoenix would look to win the final instalment of a long standing rivalry with the Bison. Probably, one of the Phoenix best rivalries as the clubs have often followed each other in the league. Games between the two sides are always good hockey games with a good bit of edge and physicality. Ciaran Long, playing the pantomime villain, is always good to see back on Altrincham ice! 

First Period: The first period began and the play was competitive as ever, Phoenix working hard to make their lesser numbers count and the Bison playing their usual road game. Playing a high forecheck and clogging the centre ice which, on a small ice pad like we have in Altrincham, is usually an effective weapon. Each team traded chances and, we would have to wait until past the halfway mark before the lamp was light for the first time. Frankie Bakrlik picked up the puck and took it down the left wing, crossing the blue line he wound up and unleashed a storming shot past Dean Skinns just over his right pad. Absolutely no stopping that goal, timed at 12min 25sec! As the period wore on both teams were effectively cancelling each other out. Both Fone and Skinns putting up some great saves to frustrate each teams attack. The Bison did make their own breakthrough, scoring just before the buzzer at 19min 49sec when Joe Rand tied the game. 

Second Period: Phoenix came out strong in the second period only to come up against one of the EPL's best netminders. Skinns keeping the home team at bay for the opening stages. The Phoenix finally make the breakthrough again at 27min 28sec when 'That man from the Czech Republic' found the net to put the home side ahead. The Bison, showed their determination once again when the tied the game once more. After sustained pressure, and some messy play in/around Fone's net the puck broke to Connolly who had all the time in the world, and a gaping net, to score the Bison 2nd goal, timed at 30min 25sec. No more scoring in the second and the game headed to the final session. 

Third Period: The final session was very nip/tuck for the majority. Each team working hard and both goaltenders putting in excellent shifts to keep the opposition at bay. We had to wait until the final half of the period to see some scoring. The Phoenix, once again, took the lead as Joe Graham released Bobby Chamberlain to put the Phoenix ahead at 53min 24sec. The joy was short-lived as the Bison scored, one of the fastest reply goals ever, when just 6 sec later Joe Greener scored to tie the game again at 53min 48sec. The Phoenix and Bison are so evenly matched that 60mins could no separate the two sides. We went to overtime! 

Overtime/Penalty Shots: Overtime was as open as the game was, the short 5 min session saw 10 shots in all but neither side could get the winner. Penalty shots were as tight as the game, Karpov went first and was denied by the pad of Fone, Walker and Long were also denied. Michal Psurny would be the first scorer of the shootout when he lifted the puck over Dean Skinns. Advantage Phoenix! It was down to Joe Greener, his shot was again stopped by Fone and the Phoenix won the extra point. 

Verdict: Another excellent Phoenix/Bison game and one worth watching the full highlights on Phoenix TV. Both sides deserved something from the game and, on balance of play, Phoenix deserved the win. So a 4-3 victory after PS is probably fair all round! 

Attendance: A good crowd of 1,000 in the Ice Dome 

Phoenix 4 Bison 3 APS - Phoenix Article

Phoenix 4 Bison 3 APS - Bison Article

Phoenix TV:


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 8th January Sheffield Steeldogs

As with my post about the Telford game just before this one, I apologise for the lack of an in-depth run down. 
This derby game was also a groupon game so a big crowd was in and, I was looking after some good friends who had come to the game. As with the Tigers game, below is a run down of the goals and who scored them. Match reports from each teams website and Phoenix TV will fill you in on the details. 

Phoenix, 6.43 Bakrlik 
Phoenix, 7.16 Psurny 
Phoenix, 9.52 Chamberlain 
Phoenix, 12.54 Watkins 
Phoenix, 19.43 Wood 
Sheffield, 23.07 Hirst 
Phoenix PP, 25.15 Bakrlik 
Sheffield PP, 30.56 Ozolins 
Phoenix PP, 53.34 Archer 
Phoenix, 54.19 Graham 

Fantastic win in the end, it was so good seeing the Phoenix grind Sheffield into the ice. The first period was something special! A truly dominating performance from the first puck drop to the last! 


Phoenix 8 Sheffield 2 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 8 Sheffield 2 - Steeldogs Article


Phoenix Rolling - 11th Jan Telford Tigers

I apologise for getting behind on my match reports, the next couple of games, I will admit, I have left quite a while until posting. 
With that in mind I wont go into the usual level of detail except, to direct you to each teams match report and, Phoenix TV for highlights/interviews of all the goal action. As for the stats, below is a run down of when each goal went in and the scorers: 

Phoenix PP, 3.31 Kovar 
Telford PP, 12.17 Salem 
Telford, 14.18 Novak 
Phoenix, 25.27 Neil 
Telford PP, 31.48 Zajac 
Telford 41.21 McKenzie 
Phoenix, 50.55 Watkins 
Telford, 53.30 Miller 

As for the game overall, it was always going to be a huge huge mountain for the Phoenix. I think, during the anthems, I counted 16 players for the Phoenix and 22 for the Tigers. Add in that the Tigers roster is so much stronger to begin with you get a picture of how tough this game would be. In the end a 5-3 loss to the Tigers I could not argue with. Their penalty kill and powerplay unit's are so good, you just cant give them the edge. With that said, the Phoenix played really really well and, in fairness, should have got a point from the game. It wasn't to be though....onwards and upwards! 


Phoenix 3 Telford 5 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 3 Telford 5 - Tigers Article

 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Phoenix Rolling - 4th January Basingstoke Bison

After such a poor weekend against the Tigers the Phoenix really needed a strong weekend to bounce back and keep pace with the clubs above them in the EPL table. The weekend that gave them that opportunity was another tough one, away to the Sheffield Steeldogs and then home to the Basingstoke Bison. Going into the weekend the Phoenix were dealt a blow, Corson-Heron, we know, was already sidelined for an extended period of time with a broken collarbone but now, captain Luke Boothroyd was ruled out with a broken wrist. We all know the Phoenix operate with a short bench, take two players out of the lineup and that short bench is looking worryingly thin! 

Even so, the guys are professional about things and will always put the effort in! 


Sheffield 4 Phoenix 3 OT - Phoenix Article
Sheffield 4 Phoenix 3 OT - Sheffield Article

Saturday's away game to Sheffield saw a typically physical affair, in the end the Steeldogs taking the game in overtime. Given our current squad and level of play, im happy taking a point from an away game in Sheffield! That left sunday night's joust with the Bison who, the Phoenix demolished in their last trip north. Would it happen again? Coming into the game, Phoenix as mentioned had an OT loss to Sheffield, the Bison came into the game after a superb OT win against league leaders Telford Tigers. Advantage Bison perhaps? 

First Period: As mentioned many times on here and on the podcast, Bison/Phoenix games are always close and keenly fought. The game opened and, after just 18sec the home side thought they had the lead. A quick circle round the net and the puck was in, so said the referee....but wait.....after a long discussion the goal was ruled out. Despite this setback the Phoenix worked hard and made sure the Bison knew they were in for a tough night. Highlight of the first period was a huge hit on Muzzy Wales by Ben Wood. Brilliant check! Phoenix were first to take a penalty and the Bison would make them pay. At 7min 12sec Melachrino scored a superb effort to put the visitors ahead. The first period began to get away from the home side a little after this point. Thanks to some great forechecking the Bison forced Phoenix into a mistake. On the puck Ben Wood tried to wrap the puck around behind the Phoenix net to clear. It didn't make it, was picked up by Dough Sheppard who scored to double the Bison lead at 11min 56sec. The period ended with no further goals and the Bison in the ascendancy! 

Second Period: The proverbial rocket was needed for the Phoenix to get back into the game. They began to take control when Robin Kovar scored on the PowerPlay at 26min 18sec. That goal lifted the home side and the Phoenix began to battle, this created a good game with both teams working hard. Bison forced Fone into some excellent saves before picking up a powerplay, with the delayed penalty and extra skater the Phoenix levelled the game. Thompson was found with the puck and then raced up the ice and scored a superb solo effort just 4 sec before the period buzzer. An excellent time to score! 

Third Period: So one session to go and scores all tied! Again the play was even until the half way mark. Perhaps harshly, Jack Watkins was called for kneeing and, on the ensuing powerplay, Bison re-took the lead. Karpov scoring at 50min 20sec. Bison got into penalty trouble themselves and, it would be another powerplay goal for the Phoenix. Shaun Thompson getting his second of the night at 57min 31sec. That would be how regulation ended, scores tied 3-3. 

Overtime/Penalty Shots: No goals followed in the extra 5 minutes so the game went to the dreaded penalty shots. After the first two rounds the scores were level at 1-1, Archer for the Phoenix and Long for the Bison. Karpov took the Bison 3rd penalty and could not convert setting up Adam Walker for the winner. He made no mistake to secure the extra point for the Phoenix. 

Verdict: A competitive game with ebb's and flows, the Phoenix will be delighted to finish the weekend with 3 points. The only worry for me is the short bench, neither Corson-Heron or Boothroyd will be back soo, a big effort is needed now from those healthy bodies left. 

Attendance: Around 900 in the Ice Dome. 


Phoenix 4 Bison 3 APS - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 4 Bison 3 APS - Bison Article

Phoenix TV: