Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Time to Put the Wildcats Out

Sadly, this is not the Zamboni.  It is a raffle prize.
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 7 April 2012 at the Altrincham Ice Dome
Manchester Phoenix 4 Swindon Wildcats 0
(Phoenix win 6-1 on aggregate)
English Premier League playoff quarter-final second leg
#6 on the rinkhopping list
This match in one sentence
A fast and open game which was controlled by Phoenix from beginning to end.
So what?
Phoenix will take on Sheffield Steeldogs in the semi-final at Coventry next weekend.
The drama unfolds
Swindon have scored plenty of goals this season and, as they started this away leg with a deficit of one, a first score from them could have made life interesting.  However, Phoenix, who finished the regular league season in second place behind Guildford Flames, gave a very solid performance to seal their semi-final place.

Both sides went close in the opening seconds and a first period powerplay for Swindon was shut out, an “If only…” moment, and to be fair to Phoenix, the only one they allowed the visitors to have.  Tom Duggan passed to James Archer who finished superbly to open the scoring after 12 minutes.  1-0

Here are some clips to capture the occasion.  Phoenix are in white-and-black.

Swindon were not down yet and Phoenix netminder Steve Fone distinguished himself with an excellent save (from Michal Pinc, I think!).  Both sides had unconverted powerplays but there were no more scores in the first.  1-0 at the end of the first period

Duggan assisted Archer for his second goal after only two minutes of the second, and this calmed any residual home nerves.  2-0  You knew that Swindon were going out when they then conceded during their own powerplay chance (a “shorthanded” goal, apparently).  This time Archer returned the compliment with an assist for Duggan.  3-0  Phoenix so nearly added an intricate fourth but then got it soon afterwards.  Stephen Wallace got the goal with an assist from that man Archer.  4-0  They then eased through a powerplay of their own and ran the clock down with the job done and a whole period to go.  4-0 at the end of the second period

Wildcats gave some ice time to another netminder, Dean Skinns, and he was very busy.  Pinc got two minutes for slashing in the game’s remaining flashpoint, and the only matter of interest became whether Fone would get a shutout.  He did.  Final score 4-0
Something Random

See previous hockey posts on this blog – all I am saying is that it went clockwise and the Northern Hemisphere Residual Corolis Force Clockwise Circulation theory is intact ;)  Sadly, the Nobel Prize committee remain unimpressed by my late contribution to the canon of scientific knowledge and understanding.
A snippet from the programme
“Sledge hockey is a variant of ice hockey and can be played on and off ice, using sledges to allow paricipants to move about the rink at high speeds hitting a puck travelling at speeds of up to 100kph.  Players sit in sledges, propelling themselves with sticks adapted to allow propulsion in a manner similar to skiing.”

Among the teams competing in the 2012 league will be the Battle Back Bisons, consisting of injured military personnel, who will be supported by players and staff from the Swindon Wildcats sledge hockey team.  There will be a series of tournaments during the summer months at the various home rinks, with free entry for fans.  Other teams involved are the Kingston Kestrels, Peterborough Phantoms and Manchester Phoenix.  Phoenix will be linked with Coventry Flames and Widnes Wolverines in order to help the sport grow and develop.
What Next?
A Monday groundhopping double in Buckinghamshire – post to follow.

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