Phoenix & Steelers fight Playoff style tie

Friday, 10th October 2003

Over 3200 fans saw a titanic struggle as the Phoenix and Sheffield Steelers fought out a scoreless draw on Friday night in a game that both coaches likened to playoff hockey.

Phoenix, out for revenge for their overtime loss in Sheffield last weekend, started confidently with former Flintshire Freeze winger Marc Lovell impressing in the first period. Both teams gave their respective penalty-killing and powerplay special teams an airing but the first period ended with both goals intact. The pace increased in the second session with both goalies making some excellent saves including one particular glove save from Steelers Rob Dopson that stunned both the Phoenix players and fans alike. Steelers had Gerad Adams ejected in the 47th minute for a big illegal hit on Nick Poole and the visitors defence worked overtime to keep the Phoenix powerplay at bay. With both sets of fans willing their teams on, one goal seemed destined to seal the spoils but with Jayme Platt and Rob Dopson in imperious form, neither regulation time not overtime would see them beaten.

Phoenix head coach Rick Brebant commented, “That was a game for the purist. It was tough, intense and there were chances on both sides. We worked hard and but for Dopson – what a save from Pooler - could have had three of four goals. I thought Jayme Platt was excellent too and Marc Lovell had a very good game. Now we go to Basingstoke for what promises to be another tough game.”

Steelers coach Mike Blaisdell added, “That was two well coached teams who played hard every shift tonight. The fans were on the edge of their seats and it was a great advert. That was playoff hockey in October, the fans have not seen a goal, but they’ve seen an excellent game of hockey.”