No goals again but coach Slava is refusing to panic

Darius Pliskauskas hit the pipes against Basingstoke. Picture: Alan Storer
Darius Pliskauskas hit the pipes against Basingstoke. Picture: Alan Storer
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Phantoms’ goal drought has left coach Slava Koulikov perplexed, but not panicking.

The city team have failed to score in eight periods of hockey – that’s more than two-and-a-half hours of action and almost unheard of in this sport.

They drew two blanks last weekend when suffering back-to-back 3-0 defeats at the hands of Basingstoke in top-of-the-table English Premier League clashes.

They haven’t found the net since Ales Padelek struck in the opening period of a 4-2 home loss at the hands of arch-rivals Milton Keynes on December 27 – the second game in their current four-match losing run.

Koulikov admitted: “You are not going to win a game with a zero next to your name.

“The guys gave everything and there are no questions about their commitment or effort.

“But sometimes it happens that the puck just won’t go in and that is what we found last weekend.

“Telford went through something similar early in the season and we just have to hope the guys can find their touch again.

“You can’t coach getting a good bounce or catching a break in front of the net. We just need to see the puck go in and that will set us off again.

“It is an uncomfortable situation to be in. Maybe I need to go to church, light a candle and pray for a goal!”

Koulikov admitted Phantoms have also fallen short of their targets defensively in recent games.

They have conceded 14 goals in that time which is close to double the two-per-game tally they aim to manage.

Koulikov continued: “If we look at the four games against MK and Basingstoke as a whole, we scored four times and let in 14 goals.

“Obviously an average of one goal per game is nowhere near enough, but we have also conceded too many goals and that is something we need to try to tighten up on.

“The morale in the locker room was fine after the two defeats to Milton Keynes, but to lose again in Basingstoke had an effect.

“I sensed it was a bit quiet before the home game and going 2-0 down in the first period only increased the frustration.

“There was maybe a bit of fear as well as the guys hadn’t scored a goal for a while, and that is something new for us to deal with.”

Defenceman Scott Robson missed the home clash against Basingstoke with a knee problem but is expected to return this weekend.