ICE HOCKEY: The Phantoms players trained too hard

Janis Auzins in action for Phantoms against Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture: Alan Storer

Janis Auzins in action for Phantoms against Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture: Alan Storer

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Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov admits the performance which took his side to the top of the English Premier League would ordinarily have made him angry.

Koulikov was less than impressed with the display his team produced when seeing off Sheffield Steeldogs 6-4.

He put a sluggish showing down to the fact his men had trained too hard in the days leading up to their only fixture of the weekend.

Koulikov admitted: “Everyone could see that we didn’t play as well as we can.

“We had two very intensive practice sessions in the build-up to the game and that probably had an effect on the performance.

“We didn’t have a lot of energy on the ice, but we managed to find an extra gear with a burst of goals in the second period.

“It was also a case of showing character to come up with two big points on a night when the whole team didn’t perform to their ability.

“There are so many upsets happening in the league and the important thing is that we were not on the receiving end of one of them.

“We’re in a good position right now and the guys deserve it for the hard work they are putting in. It is also great for the fans to see their team challenging at the top of the table.”

Koulikov insists he will not rush import star Darius Pliskauskas back into action.

The Lithuanian international missed the Sheffield game – the second successive match he has sat out - as he is still feeling the effects of a late hit in a clash at Telford the previous weekend which left him with concussion.

He could return when Phantoms hit the road to face Manchester this Sunday (6.30pm).