Koulikov demands an immediate response to the Hull horror show

Craig Scott scores Phantoms' first goal against Manchester. Picture: Alan Storer
Craig Scott scores Phantoms' first goal against Manchester. Picture: Alan Storer

Coach Slava Koulikov is confident there will be no repeat of the Hull horror show from his team this weekend.

Phantoms became only the second team to be beaten by the bottom-of-the-table English Premier League newcomers when going down 2-1 after penalties on Humberside last Sunday.

It was a miserable end to a weekend which had started with a high-scoring 8-3 triumph over short-benched Manchester Phoenix at Planet Ice the previous night.

And Koulikov has demanded an immediate response from his players, who sit one point off the top of the table, when they travel to an improving Bracknell side on Saturday (6pm) for their opening test of this weekend.

Koulikov said: “We went to Hull with the expectation of winning the game and finishing last weekend with four points, but things did not go as we wanted.

“We hit a very early goal coming off the back of a big win the previous night and probably thought it would be an easy game.

“We were wrong though as Hull fought for everything after losing 11-0 a night earlier and looked like they wanted it more than us.

“That is not something I can accept and I let the guys know my feelings in the dressing room after the game.

“Admittedly we hit the pipes a couple of times and we had a goal in overtime washed out in very questionable fashion, but the game should not have got that far and I’m not going to use those things as excuses.

“We still picked up 75 per cent of the available points in the weekend and, if we can continue to do that throughout the season, we will keep ourselves around the top three.

“We usually respond well after a poor performance and hopefully that will be the case again.

“We did very well against Bracknell last season, but they were usually very tight games and they have strengthened since then.

“They are not an easy team to play against by any means after bringing in some good players in the summer.

“But we want to start the weekend with two points to take us into the Guildford game at home the following night with confidence.”

Phantoms entertain the Flames at Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm) keen to avenge a 3-2 loss in Surrey earlier in the season – one of only two defeats they have suffered in regulation time so far this term.

And one player they will have to keep a close eye on is Slovakian forward Erik Piatak, who hit the decisive goal in the previous clash and racked up 75 points playing in Phantoms colours during the 2013/14 campaign.

Koulikov added: “Erik did a good job for us in his season here and the points he scored speak for themselves, but we chose to go in a different direction the following season.

“He is a dangerous player and scored the winner at their rink earlier in the season, but Guildford have a lot of strong offensive players who we will have to pay attention to.”