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Coventry Blaze U18 v Manchester Phoenix U18

Tuesday, 10th January 2012

The first game of the New Year against a team riding high in the league, today we had 1 missing with ENL, 1 injured, 2 missing and 2 returning.

The game started quickly for the home side and a fine early double save from Paddy King after 10secs.

The home side took the lead on 3.44 after pressing for much of the early play. Phoenix started to get a foothold in the game and started to get some shots on target, it was much more even now with netminders tested at both ends.

Coventry scored again after 17.29 the shot hitting Paddy on the face mask, but unfortunately going straight in, before it would have been whistled-off by the officials. The first penalty of the game on 18.52 to the home side led to a fine finish to the period for Phoenix and a shot somehow scrambled away by the home netminder, the period had ended 0-2.

The 2nd period started with Phoenix on power play but unable to capitalise, the Coventry penalty ended with a breakaway saved by Paddy.

The first Phoenix penalty followed on 22.40 then Coventry scored again after 23.18 to make it 0-3, again penalties are costly to us.

Another Coventry breakaway was saved but then the home side scored again after 25.44 to make it 0-4 and the travelling Phoenix support began to fear a repeat of the score the last time we played Blaze a month ago...

Phoenix then began to work themselves back into the game again and we gave as good we got, there was then a mellee on the boards ending with a penalty for both sides after 30.23 followed by another Phoenix penalty, we are now 3 v 4, but this time the penalty passed without conceding.

Phoenix then scored after 37.02 for 1-4, a tap in by Chris Fox after a shot by Josh Sweet had fallen to Luke Smith, both assisted on the goal.

Phoenix finished the period strongly buoyed by the goal and a fine passing move ended with a shot saved.

Into the 3rd period and Phoenix started the stronger with some early shots saved, then after 46.31 Phoenix scored again to make it 2-4 scored by Thomas Ratcliffe assisted by Cade King and Lee Pollit, the home crowd are suddenly silenced by the fine Phoenix fightback, we had definitely got them rattled now.

Unfortunately after 48.29 a face off lost in the offensive zone led to a Coventry breakaway and from being in position to score ourselves, we find ourselves 2-5 down, this was a deflating blow just as we had clawed our way back into the game.

2 penalties for the home side followed, Phoenix have a 5 v 3 powerplay opportunity. Phoenix forced a couple of shots that were saved another home penalty followed but after 51.19 another breakaway followed and it was 2-6 a powerplay goal conceded, so instead of hoping to get another goal back we end up conceding again.

The teams were back to even, Coventry pressing forward now and another goal followed on 56.19 for 2-7.

A small fight and mellee behind our net after 57.23 led to penalties for both sides Phoenix managed a consolation goal after 58.10 for 3-7, Sheldon Cassidy scored assisted by Scott Robson.

The final goal for the home side after 59.29 made it 3-8, another breakaway goal. A much improved performance today against a very good side, Phoenix showed a lot of spirit today but the home side had some very quick skaters that took advantage of breakaways as we got tired in the 3rd period, but we had got ourselves back into the game really well, Paddy in net had some great saves again today to keep the scoreline at bay.

The spirit of the game went to Robert Cooke

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