Damien King proved to be a formidable last line of defence as Phantoms opened their English Premier League account tonight (September 23).
The netminder came within 98 seconds of a super shut-out but had to settle for the man-of-the-match gong following some terrific exploits between the pipes.
King was finally beaten by Swindon man Michal Kapicka inside the final two minutes of a match that had appeared to be petering out towards a relatively smooth Phantoms success.
However, that goal prompted a late scare as the Wildcats applied plenty of pressure in the dying moments, but the hosts stood firm to allow head coach Jon Kynaston to collect the first EPL points of his reign.
“I’m really pleased with the response after being beaten at Basingstoke on Saturday,” said Kynaston.
“We needed to get a result and found a way to do that. Winning our home games is going to be crucial if we are going to end up where we want to be in the league table come next March.”
Phantoms were slow out of the traps and only a series of fine saves from King prevented them from falling behind in the opening period.
So they could count themselves extremely fortunate to hit the front when Tom Carlon’s hard work in the corner paid off with a very tidy finish from the edge of the crease on 18:20.
They doubled their lead just over four minutes into the second period when captain Jeff Glowa lifted a shot past Wildcats netminder Dean Skinns after good work from Luke Ferrara and the impressive Tom Norton.
Incidents of note were few and far between from the then on.
Phantoms successfully killed a five-on-three penalty early in the third period when seeing James Ferrara pulled up for delaying the game while already serving a bench penalty.
King was more than a match for anything Swindon could throw at him until being deceived by a rasping Kapicka strike, but this was Phantoms’ night.
Kynaston added: “We knew Swindon would hurt us if they were given a lot of the puck and we set out to not let that happen.
“We didn’t really get it right in the first period and they got the jump on us, but Damien stood tall when we needed him to.
“We knuckled down from the second period onwards and the lads played with a lot of heart to earn our first points.”
The city club are back in action next weekend when a Saturday (September 28) trip to Bracknell is followed by the visit of Sheffield to the Peterborough Arena on Sunday (September 29).
18:20 Carlon assisted by J. Ferrara/Lauko.
24:07 Glowa assisted by L. Ferrara/Norton.
58:22 Kapicka assisted by Nell.
Phantoms - Damien King.
Swindon - Dean Skinns.