When you're the Manchester Phoenix, that's who. Last night in the Altrincham Ice Dome, the Phoenix beat Hull Stingrays 3-2 in the second leg of the British Knockout Cup. The result of the first leg was 5-3 to Hull Stingrays, so Manchester needed to win by 3 clear goals to progress to the final.
And they were 3 goals ahead up until 56.57 when Nikolai Ladygin scored for Hull to make it 3-1, and the score 6-6 on aggregate. So UK hockey's randomness continues - it's 3-1 to Manchester on the night, but here comes overtime. And when Jake Riddle makes it 3-2 to Manchester, Hull actually win 7-6 :S Confused? You wait till the playoffs come round.
There was another game last night, Basingstoke flew over to Belfast with 10 skaters and 2 goalies thanks to injury and money problems, took a 2-0 lead but eventually lost 7-4, with the Giants scoring 5 in the 3rd period. That's what happens when you have 2 lines of D and 2 lines of forwards, you get worn down and then thumped by one of the form teams in the league. Eventually Bison will be healthy and have some cash, but until then, results like this may end up being normality.
Two other short pieces of news, Newcastle have signed defenceman Burt Henderson from OJI in the Asian Ice Hockey League (PR Here)
and from my own team, Michael Tasker has announced his retirement effective after this weekend's games (PR Here)
. Tasker was a late scratch after warming up last Sunday, and has been struggling with injuries all season. A former captain of the club, Sunday's home game against Hull is expected to be an emotional ending for a player who has given everything for the team.
Midweeks are a bit odd for a hockey fan here in the UK. There are rarely any games, I think Blaze have about 3 or 4 all season this year, so you spend the working week waiting for your next fix! I do have NASN, and watch the occasional NHL game, but it's not the same as going to a game live. Blaze actually have a midweek game next week, but it's away in Sheffield and I'm not sure whether I will be going. It's a bit tight to get there after work you see... hmm... but it is hockey, and the chance to watch a 2nd leg cup tie.. watch this space!