PHOENIX AVOID STING IN THE TAIL !
Manchester Phoenix returned home to the Altrincham ice dome Sunday Night, As they played hosts to the Bracknell Bees. Phoenix were hoping coming into the Sunday game that they could get over their “Derby day” defeat, as they went down 8-4 to the Sheffield Steeldogs at Ice Sheffield. Phoenix had kept pulling it back to within a goal till the 3rd period. But they simply couldn`t make a full comeback and ran out of steam eventually, As the Yorkshire side just took over on their neighbours from over the hills.
So after an abject performance by Phoenix standard, Could this lost have been put down to a bug going round the team. Or simply, The fact this was their 6th game in 10 days which would shatter any side. So AS came into this, they were hoping to finish 2012 on high as they took on Mid table side Bracknell Bees for their 2nd visit of the season at the Ice dome. The last game they met at Altrincham, It finished 7-1 in favour to the home side that occasion, back in October.
After the warm up had occured there was a Special presentation on the ice between Pete Hagan, MAGS and Guest of Honour Dwight Parrish with a Special Commemorative shirt for him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rke0DlGasJY&feature=youtu.be (Sorry for poor sound)
Just basically announced his MANCHESTER appearances record, And that club wanted to give him a special commemorative shirt.
DWIGHT PARRISH MANCHESTER STATS
REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
ISL Manchester Storm 2001-02 48 9 8 17 50 8 0 1 1 17
EIHL Manchester Phoenix 2003-04 54 7 12 19 56 6 0 3 3 6
EPL Manchester Phoenix 2008-09 33 3 10 13 18 N/A
Phoenix for this game changed starting Goaltenders, As first choice netminder Steve Fone was replaced by rookie EPL goalie Rochadale born- Jorge El-Hage. El-Hage was making his 3rd full start of the season after making his full debut down at “The Hive” at the start of this month, Where Phoenix ran out 5-3 winners against Bracknell on Decmeber 8th.
The game was once more adopting the 4 Officials system, Based on 2 Referees and 2 Linesmen. The Linos were Kris Wells and Ben Abbott. Donning the Orange Waterwings was Steve Wardell & new to Altrincham in Refs clothing at least was James Ashton.
The puck dropped to get the game underway and for the first 5 mins it was like the Alamo in the Phoenix zone, As the home side couldn`t get over half way due to the good pressure the Bees were putting them under. But also some mistakes were being made by Phoenix as well, As there was worries in the Phoenix camp, That the defeat the night before may have still be playing on their minds. As the home side was very slow and lethargic, Phoenix did manage eventually to get over halfway, But a tame shot at Carl Ambler in the Bees nets waseasily collected and covered up. The resulting play led to the First goal of the game as Alan Lack shot on El-Hage hit his stick at a funny angle and went in. Giving the Berkshire side a deserved 1-0 lead although the young netminder will want that one back as it was very misfortunate goal to concede, Assists on the goal went to Scott Spearing and James Galazzi timed at 2:46.
That goal seemed to spark Manchester into life. As from then on, Phoenix played a higher tempo and went up a couple of gears quickly. And the hitting and attacking play started to build ,Ciaran Long went to the box at 4:31 for BOARDING. Then Phoenix got a got a break, As the home side scored a beautifully worked goal led by Player coach Tony Hand,Who alongside recent new signing Derek Campbell set up James Archer who put it Ambler in goals, tying the game at 1-1 at 6:43.
At 7:16 Sam Oakfield did the worst disguising of a Hold you`ll ever see, as Hand had the puck and Oakfield grabbed him for a full 10 seconds before Ashton raised his arm to signal a penalty call. And then as he let go of Hand, he pushed him to the floor, resulting in the 2 refs at one point nearly, both raising their arms to call it.
The home side were on the Powerplay and Phoenix broke from tradition. As Phoenix aren`t renown for their goal scoring on powerplay, And is more a case of passing practice or faffing round for the whole 2 mins not shooting. Or as fellow podcaster Mark from theangrybudgie.blogspot (great read too!) was quoted as saying “Phoenix powerplay is a good time to check your Tweets or other social media for 2 mins as we go on the Powerplay due to how predictable it is”.
But what they did for once Phoenix, Was have some on in front of the goalie to screen him, And that came in the shape of Derek Campbell. After a couple of chances going close, Hand picked up on the loose puck found Derek Campbell who shot it from close range while kind of skating backwards. And his effort trickled in, To which Ashton spotted it go over and the arm straighten to signal goal. That came at 9-15 and made it 2-1 advantage for the Altrincham outfit.
Bracknell had been rattled significantly as defense wise, They were all at sea and being pulled out of shape leaving Ambler hung out to dry so many times in the period, that it did look alot like the Telford game when Phoenix scored for fun due to no Defense by the opposition. The 3rd goal arrived soon after as Hand the architect, Waited near the boards in the corner to find an outlook pass, And his great vision found Campbell who pass was inch perfect too, Found James Archer on the back door to slide home a tic tac move that brought it to 3-1 at 11-48.
There was still time though for one last goal in the period, As Campbell picked the puck up mid ice and was a chase with a Bracknell D man, He beat him to the puck and as he skated towards goal passed across for Hand to net goal number 4 for lovely little goal, timed at 16-15.
Ambler was clearly frustrated with being left high and dry and getting no help from his side what so ever. That as the nets came off attempting to save Hand goal. He had a little hissy fit pushing the nets showing his frustration for all to see. The period ended with Campbell and Thompson from the Bees, Getting into a little heated argument, as moments before a push from Campbell in the back of Munroe wasn`t looked kindly on and the ref thought so to and so put the Phoenix on the PK,At the start of the 2nd period. As he would sit the opening 2 mins out for Cross Checking at 20.00
END OF 1ST:MANCHESTER PHOENIX 4 – 1 BRACKNELL BEES
2nd period was more really Bracknell regrouping and upping the Physical side abit. And in the process taking some dumb penalty along the way too. Oakfield was called for CROSS CHECKS at 25-27 by Ref Ashton, A couple mins later Bari McKenzine ran into a group of Bracknell players by the team benches trying to stop him, But he showed great determination and somehow managed to squirm through them, regain control of the puck and was bearing down on goal, as he cut in from the wing unchallenged and slotted it to left side of Ambler for a 5-1 lead for Phoenix.
Ciaran Long then made another trip to the box for Hooking at 32-20, But not long after Ollie Bronnimann followed him over a min later for TRIPPING. As he brought down a Phoenix player heading towards the Bees crease from the wing, Leaving the Manchester player rolling to the boards, That was timed at 33-49. Then another dumb penalty this time by Veteran player Martin Masa, As he could have been called for a number of things, As he slashed & cross checked a Phoenix D man. Who wasn`t happy as he looked towards the official and as Masa skated towards the away bench, James Neil was then tripped up blatantly in front of the ref and he just laughed as he thought Neil made more of a meal of it. The referee called him in the end for TRIPPING at 36-33.
Then just before the end of 2nd period Tom Duggan tripped a Bees player up in the Phoenix zone &d as the horn sound for the end of 40 mins play. The Referee gave the signal to say he was in the box start of the 3rd adjudged for TRIPPING timed at 40:00.
END OF 2ND: MANCHESTER PHOENIX 5-1 BRACKNELL BEES
So as we entered the 3rd & Final period, Phoenix started it on the Penalty-Kill as Duggan sat the penalty box for his Tripping penalty picked up at the end of the 2nd. On that ensuing Powerplay Bracknell pulled a goal back through a the combination of the Bees trio Martin Masa getting the goal. And assists being given to Lukas Smital and also to Scott Spearing. The goal came after a hive of activity in the Phoenix crease, With a player ending up laying at the side of the crease & the puck finding a way in somehow past El-Hage for 5-2 at 41-10.
The Bees came out the more aggressive team in the 3rd as the Powerplay goal showed, The goal also seemed to give them a boost that they were looking for to try and work their way back into the contest. However they were running into Penalty trouble as Scott Spearing was showing his lack of discipline. As his side was bringing the puck away from behind his goal and on the attack, when he checked a Phoenix off the play as the Phoenix player was trying to close down the attack. So Spearing went to the box for INTERFERENCE timed 43-56.
Then came one of the most weirdest, baffling and confusing calls i`ve seen for a long time. To start with Lukas Smital was called for CHARGING and so the referee hand was raised. Right, from what i saw then Phoenix pulled their netminder for the Extra attacker, As it was a delayed penalty against Bracknell which last about 40 seconds until they touched it to be whistled. Phoenix had 6 Skaters due to pulling the goalie for the extra man till the whistle blew. However the seconds leading up to the play being stopped the Bracknell bench was screaming and shouting about too many men, Which from my vantage point from the corner it didn`t seem like anything was wrong.
So the penalty was told to the time keeper and so “00 2:00” was put on the Phoenix side?! To which there was a long discussion between the Bracknell Captain Rob Lamey i think, Phoenix coach Tony Hand & Captain Luke Boothroyd. As they talked and went over what the penalties were called for and how it came about. So after about 2 or 3 mins of talks with the officials, Coaches and senior players. The calls finished up as Smital getting 2 mins for CHARGING on the Bees, Phoenix picked up a 2 minutes Bench minor for “TOO MANY MEN” sat by Michal Psurny, both timed at 48-05.
So play restarted and after both sides were back to full strength and skated to their respective benches, Bracknell got another goal back as the Bees keep good pressure on in the Phoenix zone and during in the middle of the action, El -Hage had lost his stick and when he finally had time to pick it up. He found out it was broken so dropped the stick, And was now facing shots without his netminders stick. So the Bees in Masa and Oakfield kept the puck in the zone, With Lack getting a deflection on the puck as it looped up in the air before bouncing into the net as the Red Light came to signal another Bees goal. El-Hage looked bemused as he starred at the official over how his stick broke, but the Bees didn`t care and pulled it within 2 with the time of the goal coming at 50-50.
Bracknell were now “buzzing” and looked dangerous with Masa and Smital together. Thankfully the saves of El-Hage and the Phoenix defense were keeping the bees shooting to the outside. Spearing then made another trip to the penalty box for ELBOWS, timed at 51-47.
And then Phoenix killed the game off, As Richard Bentham hit it along the boards to which A Bees dispossessed defensemen was dispossessed by Archer who stopped it with his stick. Found Campbell with a little pass back post ghosting in & he roofed it high in the goals for 6-3 at 56-07. And making the home fans and players let out a sigh of relief as the Bees comeback was all but snuff out.
The Last action of the game was a INTERFERENCE call on Boothroyd & Grant Rounding from Bracknell picking up a 10 min misconduct for ABUSE OF OFFICIAL clocked at 57:44, not sure why the player was complaining to be honest.
Game finished with a Phoenix win and momentum to take into 2013 but a nagging thought of, If only they things had gone better in Sheffield, They would have been tied on 46 points with 1st place Basingstoke Bison heading into New Year. But no looking back, only forwards and now head into a Double Header next weekend against the Milton Keynes Lightning in what will surely be a couple of Classic encounters again between the two sides.
FINAL SCORE:MANCHESTER PHOENIX 6 – 3 BRACKNELL BEES
Man of the Match awards
Bees: 22 Alan Lack 2 Goals
Phoenix: 37. Derek Campbell 2+2
1st 2nd 3rd SOG
60:00 35. Jorge El-Hage 13, 7 , 7 = 27 (3) 88.89%
60:00 33. Carl Ambler 11 , 4, 10 =25 (6) 76.00%