Coach Koulikov praises new boy for excellent start

Phantoms v Bracknell Bees: Slava Koulikov scored against Bracknell. Photo: Alan Storer/Feral Marmot Films

Phantoms v Bracknell Bees: Slava Koulikov scored against Bracknell. Photo: Alan Storer/Feral Marmot Films

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Peterborough Phantoms chief Slava Koulikov has hailed the impact of new import star Donatas Kumeliauskas.

The Lithuanian international hitman announced his arrival by racking up three goals and three assists to help Phantoms return to third place in the English Premier League table courtesy of four points in four days.

Kumeliauskas struck twice and laid on another goal during a fine debut display in a 5-3 home triumph over bottom side Bracknell last Wednesday.

And he followed up with a goal and two further assists as Koulikov’s men swept aside Swindon with a 5-1 Saturday away success.

“To get 3+3 in his first two games for the club is an excellent start,” said Koulikov. “Especially as he is not anywhere near to being at full fitness currently.

“He hadn’t played since early November, but he stepped up and led by example to help us get two important results.

“Scoring goals straight away also takes the pressure off even for a player of his pedigree who plays on the top line of his national team.

“We are a club which has to get the right guys in on the right money and I’m delighted to have been able to bring Donatas in.”

Koulikov was also thrilled with back-to-back wins as Phantoms moved into the final third of the English Premier League season after a spell interrupted by meaningless matches in the English Challenge Cup competition.

He added: “It was important to beat Bracknell and we did that despite having guys out injured and others who hadn’t played for 10 days because of the cup games the previous weekend.

“And to follow it up with a very good away win in Swindon was very pleasing.

“Going 4-0 up in the first period certainly makes life easier and we were able to see the game out quite comfortably.

“Swindon did cause us a few problems at times as you would expect from a team with such firepower, but we coped with it and Janis Auzins again played very well.

“In all honesty he deserved a shut-out and it is a shame that couldn’t happen, but I don’t think he is too disappointed as results for the team are what really matter.

“The other teams in the league have now played the vast majority of the games that they had in hand and everyone knows where they stand in the table.”