Ice hockey - Ferrara could be elbowed out of derby showdown

Edgars Bebris celebrates scoring against his old team Sheffield Steeldogs.
Edgars Bebris celebrates scoring against his old team Sheffield Steeldogs.
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Phantoms forward Luke Ferrara faces a race against time to be fit for another big weekend of English Premier League action.

Slava Koulikov’s side travel to fierce rivals Milton Keynes for a Saturday showdown (7pm) before entertaining Basingstoke at Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm) in another crucial clash for league position.

But homegrown talent Ferrara is still feeling the effects of being hit by an elbow from visiting player Craig Elliott before falling awkwardly to the ice during Phantoms’ 6-2 victory against Sheffield Steeldogs at Planet Ice last Sunday.

He was treated on the ice before taking no further part in the game following an incident which brought the second period to a premature end - and he is relieved not to have been more seriously hurt.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday), Ferrara said: “I’m still a little sore and getting headaches. I’ve not had a chance to see the incident back on video as yet, but it will be interesting to do so.

“A few people have said they don’t think there was any intent, but I just saw an elbow coming towards my head.

“I don’t know where the guy came from and I didn’t even have the puck at the time.

“I’ve got to get myself checked out later in the week and it will be a late decision as to whether or not I play this weekend.

“I would love to be involved if I can because it is a lot of fun to be part of this team.

“We turn up every night thinking we are going to win and we know we can compete with any team even if we are not at our best.

“We’ve had a few tough years at the club and are now getting our rewards for the hard work that’s been put in.

“Slava and his father have some great tactics and I see no reason why we can’t finish second in the table.”

But Ferrara is quick to admit the standings will count for little on Saturday as Phantoms make the short trip to take on next-to-bottom Milton Keynes.

And he also expects another tough test against Basingstoke. The two teams have history after a bench clearance on the opening night of the EPL season.

Ferrara added: “I’m surprised to see MK struggling in the table, but it is certainly nice to be above them. They will really want to get a result against us and league positions mean nothing in a derby game.

“Ourselves and Basingstoke have been very close in the table for a while so Sunday is important for that reason.

“They can often be rough games against them, but they are usually fun to play in.”

The potential absence of Ferrara would add to the club’s casualty list and they also expect to be without Greg Pick this weekend.

Director of hockey Jon Kynaston expects the defenceman to be handed at least a two-game suspension after his ejection from the clash against Sheffield on game and match penalties for leaving the bench to fight.