ICE HOCKEY: Peterborough Phantoms out to tame the Tigers and secure second place

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov.
Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov.
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Peterborough Phantoms are on a mission to secure second place in the English Premier League tonight (March 16).

The city men host outgoing champions Telford in a midweek clash at Planet Ice (8pm) knowing victory will clinch a runners-up finish – quite a transformation for a club who were second-bottom only two seasons ago.

Phantoms currently boast a two-point cushion over third-placed Guildford – their EPL Cup final conquerors – in the standings and have tonight’s showdown in hand.

A win against a weakened Telford team (they have two players banned and several others injured) would increase the gap to four points and Phantoms also possess a better head-to-head record.

And coach Slava Koulikov has another reason for wanting success tonight . . . his team have already slipped up twice on home ice against Telford this term.

Koulikov said: “The aim from day one has been to finish as high as we possibly can in the table.

“Second place is the best we can achieve and we want to ensure we do that as quickly as possible.

“Two points from our final three games of the regular season will be enough, but I don’t want the guys to think like that.

“We’ve won our last four games and we want to win our next three as well to make sure we hit the play-offs with maximum momentum.

“There is also the fact that we don’t want to let Telford win in our building again. It has happened twice this season and it is something we need to address with a good performance and result.”

Phantoms suffered a 6-4 home defeat at the hands of Telford back in October and then went down 6-3 when the Tigers returned to Bretton last month.

Setting the record straight tonight would see them seal second place with two games to spare. They go to Guildford on Saturday (March 19) and host Sheffield the following night.

Finishing as runners-up will give Phantoms second-choice of opponents for the quarter-final stages of the play-offs. Champions Basingstoke will get first pick.