Just when it looked as though they might have to enquire if Conor Washington could skate, Peterborough Phantoms’ own players remembered the way to goal.
The city side snapped their four-game losing run in the English Premier League with a much-needed 6-3 success at Sheffield last night (January 9), but not before what is thought to be a new Peterborough hockey record of nine blank periods was set.
Import forward Ales Padelek ended the attacking crisis with a second period equaliser at iceSheffield – some 194 minutes and 48 seconds after his goal in the opening session of a derby defeat at the hands of Milton Keynes on December 27 which triggered the worrying drought.
Czech veteran Padelek went on to hit a hat-trick last night by adding the final two goals as Phantoms’ scoring troubles were quickly forgotten by lighting the lamp half-a-dozen times in all during an entertaining contest.
Phantoms trailed to a Steeldogs opener exactly halfway through the first period from Stan Lascek and were fortunate not to concede again when fellow Sheffield import Arnoldas Bosas saw a wrap-around effort skim off an upright moments later.
The city side dominated much of the opening 20 minutes, but still looked to be carrying the weight of their dry run on their shoulders.
That continued to be the case until Padelek provided that ‘eureka’ moment, stepping away from netminder Dalibor Sedlar and coolly finishing Phantoms’ first goal of 2016 after defenceman Cam McGiffin had intercepted on the blue-line and picked him out.
The teams then traded glorious chances moments apart. Darius Pliskauskas fired against the pipes for Phantoms before Lascek dwelt too long and allowed Janis Auzins to save after being left unattended in front of the Phantoms net.
But the floodgates were well and truly opened in a seven-goal final session as Phantoms twice saw advantages wiped out before eventually asserting their authority.
Will Weldon and Greg Pick both drove them ahead only to see Ashley Calvert and player-coach Greg Wood provide quick responses for the hosts. The second of those Sheffield goals made painful viewing for Phantoms as Auzins failed to hold a Ben Morgan shot and captain James Ferrara’s last-ditch efforts couldn’t prevent the loose puck being jabbed in.
But Phantoms were soon back in front thanks to the highest-quality goal of their bunch. It was also a glimpse into the future as youngster James White led a breakaway and laid the puck into the path of fellow teenager Martins Susters to smash home.
Padelek gave them breathing space when touching in an Edgars Bebris pass towards the net and applied further gloss to the scoreline in the dying seconds when steering the puck into an empty net.
The victory keeps Phantoms in second place, five points behind leaders Basingstoke, ahead of a home showdown against Milton Keynes tonight (January 10).
The two teams meet in an important league clash only three days before doing battle again in the opening leg of their EPL Cup semi-final on Wednesday (January 13).
10:00 Lascek ass: Calvert/Smith
45:02 Calvert ass: Haywood/Wood
47:52 Wood ass: Morgan/Calvert
29:08 Padelek ass: McGiffin
43:15 Weldon ass: White/Bebris
47:01 Pick ass White/Weldon
51:25 Susters ass: White/McGiffin
56:06 Padelek ass: Bebris
59:55 Padelek ass: Scott
Sheffield – Ashley Calvert
Phantoms – Edgars Bebris