Match Report – Manchester Phoenix V’s Peterborough Phantoms

Manchester Phoenix 2 – 2 Peterborough Phantoms

An absolutely absorbing game in the British Sledge Hockey League saw the Manchester Phoenix and reigning league champions in Peterborough Phantoms, playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw with a hint of controversy thrown in to boot.

Both sides came into the contest looking to win for different reasons.  Victory for Phoenix would see them go level on points with the league leaders and if the Phantoms took the win, it would see them stretching their lead to four points at the top of the Sledge Hockey table.  From the off it saw the double winners in the Phantoms showing just why they are the current reigning champions, as they started the better of the two sides with a couple of early chances falling their way, but was continually denied by the man of the Match for Manchester in netminder Steve Midghall.

The hosts managed to force their way back into the match thanks to their their defense thwarting their opposition and seeing some attacks starting to happen, but in truth had both sides defences very much on top and had neither team giving up any easy chances for their opponents.  Peterborough then found themselves getting behind the Phoenix defence, as they broke away on a very rare sight of a 4 on 0 attack, but a misplaced pass saw the move come to nothing.  Phoenix netminder Steve Midghall was at it again soon after, as he managed to pluck the puck from thin air to see the scoreboard remaining scoreless.

Then at 7.41 into this fast paced contest, the home side scored against the run of play with Phoenix forward Karl Nicholson. It all came from a cut out a pass by Nicholson in his own zone and after Rob Allen played it back to Nicholson, he played it off the sideboards to see the Phoenix man dashing up ice and putting it in with a neat finish by Robin Gaze for 1-0.

A bizarre occurrence saw the opening period overrun by an extra 45 seconds, and saw the Phoenix having to defend very well at the end of the period. In the second period of play, it saw both teams trying to get a foothold in the game with neither side really grabbing a hold of the game and being a pretty even defensive battle.  Manchester then caused problems in the Phantoms zone and had Nicholson nearly making it two as his effort struck the pipework to see the visitors breathe a sigh of relief.

Peterborough’s Darren Brown collected a Teeing penalty at 24.01 as a hit on Karl Nicholson saw referee Kris Wells deem it a penalty and gave the Phoenix a short lived power play, as Pat Bailey then picked up a Boarding call 17 seconds later which cancelled out the man advantage.  Midghall then made an absolutely stunning save from Phantoms forward Ty Christopher to see him frustrating the visitors as they were pushing hard for a tying goal.  In the final embers of the period it saw Midghall yet again taking the applause from those in attendance, with a save to deny the visitors in what looked like a almost certain goal and had the Phantoms bench jumping in what they thought was a goal too.

Moving to the final period and it saw the game played in two sections, the first half was a tight contest and second half was a free for all.  From the rarity of a 4 on 1 in the first period we then saw an entire line on a 5 on 1, but saw Graham Wilson making a last ditch stop and stopped the Phantoms getting back on level terms.

Eventually the pressure and saves from Midghall couldn’t continue and saw Ty Christopher scoring with a nice effort that saw the helmet of Steve Midghall come off during the tying goal of the game for the Phantoms.  Darren Brown picked up his first of two assists in the game as the Christopher goal came at 35.41 and saw Peterborough moving up a gear and which nearly brought them a go ahead goal, but again the Phoenix defence came up huge.

Manchester then retook the lead less than two minutes later, when Anthony Booth moved in on goal and saw a push on him at the front of the net which had him bump into the Phantoms netminder Robin Gaze during play and with the play seemingly at an end, the referee gave a goal as he saw the puck over the line. This led to angry protests from the visitors, after they claimed the goaltender had it covered prior to a whistle.

Peterborough channelled their anger and hit back a couple of minutes later themselves, through Kieran O’ Meara as when Steve Midghall was stranded on the ice and with the smallest of gaps at the back post, it gave O’Meara the chance to put in and peg the Phoenix back at 2-2.

MVP Match Award for Tyler Christopher.As the game neared the end, both teams had to kill off respective penalties, as Pat Bailey was called for Teing and then Callum Shakespeare was penalised for same offense. Both teams had chances to win the game and had neither side wanted to give up any goal scoring opportunities to their opponents in the dying moments. This was a truly seesaw matchup, in which had play going one way and then the other and so when the horn blew to signal the end, it had both teams shattered from giving every bit of energy they had in an absorbing and entertaining match from start to finish.

After the match Ty Christopher and Darren Brown were both given ten minutes each, one for misconduct and another for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both sides will look to recover quickly ahead of the return fixture down in Peterborough’s barn next weekend, where they will renew acquaintances.

MVP Match Award for Phantoms forward No.9 Tyler Christopher, presented by Karlos Nicholson.

Match Report – Peterborough Phantoms VS Cardiff Huskies

The game started with an explosive exchange of hands on the face off, eventually being won by the Huskies. Matt Coleman immediately chased down the puck gaining Phantoms first touch of play, though shortly after possession was taken back due to an intercepted pass. This was immediately followed by Tyler Christopher regaining possession and planting a lovely shot in the top of the net within the first two minutes of the game. The rest of the first period was fought ferociously from both teams with a few shots on net from both sides, the Huskies making the Phantoms work to maintain their lead, yet between the keepers and defenders neither was able to score. Some heavy tackles left both teams bruised, yet once again proving their worth, both teams were back on the ice for the second period with an enthusiasm matched only by the crowd

The second period started with another lightning fast exchange of hands for the face off, the Huskies winning the face off and attacking immediately, at which point Scott Turner scored a precise shot in the top right of the net for the Huskies with an almost identical equalizer. A little over a minute later Coleman came charging in and scored a beauty to take back the lead. The referee was introduced personally to the ice by the Phantoms Callum Shakespear. The Huskies won the following face off, yet Coleman proved his worth once more to steal the puck immediately and within less than a minute of his previous goal managed to assist Christopher scoring his second of the game. Christopher couldn’t leave it at two though, he went for the hat-trick just over a minute later with an immediate attack from face off, scoring another powerful shot into the top of the net. With the Huskies fighting hard for a goal the next few minutes were spent fighting to prevent them from scoring, they pushed hard but when an attack was stopped by the Phantoms defense and a counterattack launched by Darren Brown, taken into the neutral zone yet no further, Brown taking a snap shot from several feet over the blue from out on the boards launching it high into the top left of the Huskies net with the keeper well beaten & furthering the Phantoms lead. Ten minutes of hard play and even harder shots from both sides left the score as it was, yet the players somewhat the more bruised for it.

The third period started, if anything, with an even faster exchange of sticks at face off, this time being won by the Phantoms. A penalty given against Christopher gave the Huskies the powerplay, which was immediately taken advantage of with a beautiful shot, once again top right of the net, from Alex Weaver with the assist from Paul Furber. Christopher came straight out of the penalty to score another powerful shot, again into the top of the net from the Phantoms own powerplay from a penalty given against Jason Solamon for a T-bone. After five more minutes of intense play, in which time many a hard tackle and pass took place, the Huskies scored a lovely goal, this time from Furber with the assist from Turner. At the face off the Huskies took the puck, but Coleman once again stole it and, unassisted once again, scored a lovely goal in return within the minute. The Phantoms took the next face off and immediately went on the offensive and, a little over thirty seconds later, within the last minute Kieran O’ Meara scored a lovely chip shot in the top of the net, assisted by Coleman. Another face off taken by the Huskies was immediately stolen by Kieran O’ Meara, which was quickly passed for an assist to Christopher who scored his forth goal in the last thirty seconds of the game, leading to a final score of 9 – 3 to the Phantoms.

MVP Awards Phantoms v's HuskiesPlaying without either the blocker or catcher both net-minders proved their worth here, especially since both were only covering for their teams main net-minder, and performed some brilliant saves worthy of many an experienced keeper. Although many deserved the awards, MVP awards were given to David O’ Meara for the Phantoms and Tim James for the Huskies, both well earned in their respective roles. A great game with some great performances on both sides, and some great support from the crowds too.

Match Report: Phantoms vs Kestrels

The Planet Ice British Sledge Hockey  League is in full swing.  The first games started a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s the turn of Peterborough Phantoms vs arguably our biggest rivals in recent years, Kingston Kestrels. Kestrels lined up with a different and slightly smaller squad than last season, with them seeing the return Chris Wilson from previous seasons, and the addition of a new player in Dave Blakeston. On the other side, Phantoms boasted a large number of players, a number of them making their debuts not only for the club but in sledge hockey itself!

Despite the small number of players for Kestrels, what they do possess is a large amount of quality against our numbers. The starting line-up for Phantoms was Matt Coleman, Tyler Christopher and new boy/ex-Kestrels player, Ian Warner leading the attack.  In defence, Darren Brown and Jon Le Galloudec, and Rob Gaze between the pipes. Kestrels lined up with Ian Houliston in net, Matt Clarkson and Sam Fitzgerald in defence.  Matt Woollias, Chris Wilson, and Simon Berry supporting the front line.

The first period was a scrappy affair, with both teams trying to get control of the game. A lot of good hits going in, and Kestrels putting the Phantoms under a lot of pressure.  Kestrels made that pressure pay off with a well-taken shot from Matt Woollias to the top left hand corner of the net in the 6th minute of the 1st period, giving the Kestrels account 1-0 lead.

A time out was called by the Phantoms, to try and get some structure and to calm down.  It worked, they started to get our game together, and in the 12th minute of the 1st period, Tyler made a break with him getting just behind the goal. Despite having two Kestrels players smothering him, he managed to squeeze a pass through to Matt Coleman, who dispatched the puck under Houliston on the far post. Game on – 1-1!

2nd period saw the Phantoms starting to get to grips with the game. It’s not a surprise really, considering the Phantoms had a large bench, it was proving difficult to try and get everyone on the ice, and in some part this may have contributed to the difficulty in trying to maintain consistency during the game.  However, the new guys contributed with new boy, Kieran O’Meara setting up the second goal for Phantoms in the 26th minute with a great pass to Tyler Christopher who was sitting just in front of the net to chip it over the keeper. The score remained 2-1 to Phantoms until the 3rd period. Despite having a small bench, Kestrels never tired and kept pushing for an equaliser.  They got their reward in the 34th minute.  Matt Clarkson, known for his powerful shot, decided to let one rip from the blue line, going through a number of bodies and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. 2 – 2 – and with not many minutes left on the clock, both teams went all out to try and get the winner.  It was anyone’s game right now, but thankfully for Phantoms, only a couple of minutes after Clarkson’s dam buster, Tyler setup Ian Warner, the ex-Kestrel, to score the winner for Phantoms on his debut.

Despite Kestrels pushing hard for an equaliser, Phantoms saw out the last minutes to finish the game as winners of their first home game of the Planet Ice League season. Planet Ice MVP was selected by the opposite teams, with Kestrels selecting Matt Coleman as the MVP for Phantoms, and Phantoms selected Matt Clarkson as the MVP for Kestrels. This was a tough game, and in truth the difference between one side not really having much of a bench and one who had loads didn’t show.  Kestrels pushed all the way from start to finish. For Phantoms it’s a great sign to see everyone get some ice time, and all contributing to the win, we look forward to the next game against Cardiff, in a couple of weeks time, where hopefully our new squad will get another chance to gel together

Huskies vs Phoenix Match Report

HuskiesPhoenix300415On Saturday 4th April, The Cardiff Huskies welcomed the Manchester Phoenix to the Cardiff Ice Arana for the opening game of the BSHA Planet Ice National Sledge Hockey League for both teams.

Cardiff are starting this year with a number of players new to league matches alongside many more experienced players. However the game was expected to be close and physical between two sides of fairly equal strength.

In an end to end start with strong skating, tight defence but few opportunities for shots on goal the Huskies looked stronger. However despite being the only team in the first 10 minutes to keep possession in attacking positions a mistake against the play and fast reactions from Phoenix 14 Anthony Booth opened the scoring as the forward gained control of the puck in the Huskies zone and wrapped around Gareth Rees’s net to open the scoring on the backhand at 11.41

The physical style of the Huskies continued to give the home team good possession after the restart, however a roughing call against Huskies Paul Furber three minutes later lead to Manchester’s first real opportunity to change the momentum of the game and while the power play that followed was dealt with well by The Huskies penalty kill, Phoenix had begun to make an impact. Despite going on the penalty kill themselves in the last few minutes after a disputed elbowing call on defenceman Graham Wilson, the away team came out of the period 1 – 0 up and looking the more effective team.

Having been the stronger team at the end of the first period, the Phoenix kept up the momentum with a great start and were 2 up in the 17th minute after good interplay between Booth, the scorer of the first goal and top centre Karl Nicholson who flicked the puck into the Cardiff net from close in.

A period of 4 on 4 hockey was key to the next passage of play. Cardiff’s Scotty Turner and Manchester’s Anthony Booth both serving penalties for separate incidents within a short time. Cardiff continued to put good pressure on their opponents with some tough hits, although the greater amount of space clearly benefitted the fast Manchester forwards,

With the score remaining 2 -0 going into the 3rd period a change of net minder in the Cardiff goal seemed to signal a more direct attacking style in the final 15 minutes. A more open style initially seemed to play into the away teams hands, a breakaway goal again from prominent forward Booth on 36.26 taking them into a 3 – 0 lead. However there was no question that Cardiff had begun to put more puck on net in the last 10 minutes and the opposing net minder Stephen Midgehall who was in great form began to get much better shots coming his way.

Unfortunately for the home side the dominance they finally managed to reassert towards the end of the game would not be enough, but in an exciting last few minutes the game firstly seemed to have been completely taken away from Cardiff after Karl Nicholson struck again, before Cardiff staged a very late come back.

The final twist in the game came with little over a minute left to play, when Phoenix seemed to suddenly lose concentration and the fired up home team, who had found new energy in the late stages managed to break the deadlock. At 43.46 Lloyd Woodyatt showed great forward pressure taking the puck of the defence around the back of the net and following on for the wrap around to finally give his side the goal they were looking for.

Then just seconds later after the centre ice face off, Manchester again failed to clear the puck from deep within their defensive zone and Woodyatt again charged down of goal and working well with Scott Turner, saw the home team score a remarkable second goal.

It was a great last push by the Huskies, however it was not enough and with no further score Manchester Phoenix came out winners with a 4 – 2 score line.

This was a good well matched game of Hockey from which both teams will have positives to take away going further into the league season and the rematch away in Manchester will be keenly awaited by both sides.

SledgeHockeyGB Reveal 2015 Playing Shirts

The British Sledge Hockey Association (BSHA) is delighted to reveal the SledgeHockeyGB playing jersey for the 2015 World Championships (Pool B), to be held in Ostersund from the 16th to 22th March 2015.

These shirts have been provided to SledgeHockeyGB by the Great Britain Supporters Club (GBSC) and Jersey 53.

GBShirt2015

Elite Programme Director John Neville said:

“Sledge Hockey in Great Britain has a lot of support and one of our biggest long term supporters is the Great Britain Supports Club. They not only fundraise on behalf of SledgeHockeyGB but actively encourage their members to support Sledge Hockey at all levels. As a result of their involvement we can truly say that SledgeHockeyGB are one of the best supported British Paralympic teams”.

BSHA Chair, Matt Lloyd added;

“Whenever there is a Sledge Hockey game featuring British players you can almost guarantee there will be a proud Great Britain Supporters Club member in the crowd and the GB team always see it as an honour to wear shirts or off-ice clothing with the GBSC logo on it. On behalf of everyone involved with Sledge Hockey I would like to thank the GBSC for their ongoing support.”

The SledgeHockeyGB playing jerseys are being supplied for the first time by Jersey 53 as a result of a fantastic new partnership. The GB team can be seen wearing Jersey 53 Mission Pro cut jerseys, one of many unique cuts available from Jersey 53 range.

Jersey 53’s Ali Cree commented,

“Jersey 53 are thrilled to be supporting the GB Sledge Hockey Team in their upcoming World Championship Campaign. We look forward to following the championships closely and will be cheering on the squad. We hope to build connections with British Sledge Hockey Association and its members to help accommodate their custom requirements for all members. We are totally inspired by these athletes fight over adversity to reach their goals and aspirations to represent Britain.”

Wish the team good luck! Tweet your good luck messages to @sledgehockey on Twitter using the hashtag #SledgeHockeyGB.

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