Ice hockey - Phantoms come to the four again

Luke Ferrara scored the first Phantoms goal.
Luke Ferrara scored the first Phantoms goal.

A fourth successive victory secured a four-point weekend as the Peterborough Phantoms juggernaut hit the road to run down the rock-bottom Bracknell Bees last night (February 1).

A 4-1 triumph at The Hive ensured the city team not only continued their current winning streak but also completed a clean sweep of six triumphs against the English Premier League basement boys.

But player-coach Slava Koulikov was at pains to stress it was no cakewalk with his team still feeling the effects of an epic home triumph over table-topping Telford 24 hours earlier.

Luke Ferrara’s early powerplay opener was the only breakthrough in the opening period largely thanks to the exploits of Phantoms netminder Janis Auzins who regularly repelled the hosts.

The big Latvian was powerless to prevent his team being pegged back just 11 seconds after the resumption, but they crucially edged themselves back ahead courtesy of a fifth goal in four appearances from Lithuanian sensation Donatas Kumeliauskas before going on to clinch victory in the final period.

Edgars Bebris weighed in with a third goal before captain James Ferrara when following the example of younger brother Luke and striking on a numerical advantage.

Koulikov said: “The guys knew this was a game we had to win and they made sure we got the two points.

“The effort we put into beating Telford the previous night showed in our performance.

“We didn’t start in the best mindset and made a lot of mistakes as a result. Fortunately we managed to get a powerplay goal early on and Janis stood tall during the rest of the first period.

“Conceding in the first shift was not the way we wanted to start the second period, but it was important to get ourselves ahead again and Bracknell then seemed to run out of steam.

“The third goal put us in a good position and the fourth one killed the game.”

Phantoms enforcer Greg Pick twice dropped the gloves to scrap with Bees man James Galazzi while Matt Towalski was thrown out late on after collecting a double misconduct penalty following a roughing offence as tempers frayed in the home ranks.

But the mood in the Phantoms camp could not be better as they moved level with second-placed Guildford Flames – a team they travel to face on Saturday (February 7).

A Sunday (February 8) home date against Sheffield Steeldogs completes their programme in the coming weekend.

MATCH DETAILS

Goals

Bracknell

20:11 Hubacek ass: Smital

Phantoms

4:31 L. Ferrara (PP) ass: Baranyk/Koulikov

33:32 Kumeliauskas ass: R. Ferrara

43:27 Bebris ass: Baranyk/J. Ferrara

52:49 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Levers/Weldon

Men-of-the-match

Bracknell – JJ Pitchley

Phantoms – Marc Levers