Peterborough Phantoms head coach Jon Kynaston could not hide his frustration after his team were on the receiving end of a cruel late twist tonight (October 7) to continue a weekend of torment.
Phantoms followed up a Saturday night reverse at Slough - in which they squandered a glut of good chances - by delivering a rousing Peterborough Arena performance against a Basingstoke team tipped to challenge for the English Premier League title.
If that prediction proves to be accurate, Phantoms won’t be far behind on this evidence. Had it not been for a formidable opposition netminder they would have had the match won long before the agonising concession of a goal inside the final minute.
Bison man Stevie Lyle blocked, clutched or, in some cases, spilled and still survived all bar one of the 52 shots Phantoms thundered his way. The one that beat him was a richly-deserved equaliser from Ondrej Lauko with just over seven minutes remaining.
The Slovakian hitman, who scored 99 goals during two seasons in Bison colours, pegged back his old club by sweeping in a sumptuous pass from Tom Carlon as Phantoms finally cancelled out a scruffy first-period opener from their former player Joe Miller. The Welshman was scoring against the city club for the fourth time this season.
But any hopes of Phantoms going on to claim a morale-boosting victory were wrecked by Basingstoke player-coach Doug Sheppard’s fortunate stike at 59:07. To add salt into the wounds his heavily deflected effort arrived moments after Phantoms had successfully killed a visiting powerplay.
“It’s fair to say I’m frustrated,” admitted Kynaston. “We just outperformed a very good hockey team and came away with nothing.
“I thought there was a high stick that went unnoticed as Basingstoke scored their first goal and their winner took a cruel deflection. That sums up the way things are going.
“We could easily have had four points from this weekend and our opponents couldn’t have had any complaints. In fact we have outplayed our opponents three times in the last four games and have only one point picked up in Bracknell to show for it.
“The players are down after not getting what they deserve, but as coaching staff we’ll make sure they are picked up and ready to go again next weekend.
“We’re struggling to convert the chances that are being created, but that will certainly come and someone is going to bear the brunt of it when it does happen.”
Phantoms will hope it happens next weekend when they meet in-form arch-rivals Milton Keynes Lightning home and away.
Kynaston expects to learn the full extent of defencenman Joe Graham’s shoulder injury, which was sustained at Slough, in the next couple of days. He admits ‘it doesn’t look good’,
52:45 Lauko (PP) ass: Carlon/Hutchinson
11:09 Miller (PP) ass: Chambers
59:07 Sheppard ass: Fojtik
Phantoms: Tom Norton
Basingstoke: Stevie Lyle