Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov blasted the new English Premier League overtime rules after his side slipped to a second sudden-death defeat of the season to fierce rivals Milton Keynes last night (October 3).
Just as they did at Planet Ice last month, the Lightning prevailed 4-3 in an exciting clash that went beyond the hour. And just as on that occasion, Koulikov was quick to voice his dismay at those who gave the green light to a new system which means teams are only permitted to use one import during the extra five minutes of three-on-three action.
Koulikov said: “I don’t have any problem with the decision to make overtime three-on-three rather than four-on-four. It is something a lot of major leagues do.
“But I cannot understand the situation of only being allowed to use one import. It makes no sense to me that teams must keep three of their best and most entertaining players on the bench at such at important stage of the game.
“No-one can explain to me why it has been done and that’s probably because it doesn’t make any sense!
“I’m happy to come away with a point in what was a very good hockey game though. Milton Keynes are the strongest team we have faced this season in terms of skill, speed and organisation.
“But I’m also slightly disappointed we conceded a late goal and were unable to win despite leading three times.”
Phantoms led courtesy of an early opener from Edgars Bebris, a Robert Ferrara strike late in the second period and fellow defenceman Cam McGiffin’s effort with under five minutes remaining.
But the Lightning had an answer on each occasion with Finnish import Markku Tahtinen hitting their first equaliser and Peterborough lad Lewis Hook hitting their next two levellers.
And the contest was eventually settled in the second minute of overtime when Bobby Chamberlain struck on a powerplay with Lightning enjoying a four-on-three advantage after a tripping call against Bebris and able to send on a second import.
Koulikov praised defenceman Craig Wallis who stepped up from the Islanders with Greg Pick out injured. Phantoms also lost Tom Norton for part of the game after taking a puck to the face.
Phantoms are back in action tonight (October 4) when they host Swindon at Planet Ice.
12:07 Tahtinen ass: Luomala/Carr
41:56 Hook ass: Cownie/Emersic
57:32 Hook ass: Tahtinen
61:45 Chamberlain (PP) ass: Jarolin/Jamieson
3:35 Bebris ass: Scott
35:08 R. Ferrara ass: Scott/Norton
55:23 McGiffin ass: Baranyk/Levers
Milton Keynes – Lewis Hook
Phantoms – Craig Scott