Phantoms capable of causing upset at play-off finals

Will Weldon goes in on Stevie Lyle in last Sunday's play-off quarter-final. Picture: Alan Storer

Will Weldon goes in on Stevie Lyle in last Sunday's play-off quarter-final. Picture: Alan Storer

0
Have your say

Phantoms player-coach Slava Koulikov insists all the pressure will be on their play-off finals opponents Telford.

The city club take on the double-winners at the semi-final stage of the end-of-season extravaganza in Coventry on Saturday (1pm start) with a place in the Sunday afternoon final up for grabs.

It is a daunting task against a Telford team who sauntered to the English Premier League title by 18 points, but Phantoms did record home and away victories over the Tigers during the regular season.

Now the challenge is to repeat that feat on the big stage as they go in search of a first trophy since their treble success six years ago.

Koulikov said: “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and Telford have undoubtedly been the top team in the EPL this season.

“They have already won the league and the cup. They will be desperate to do the treble and they are certain to be high on confidence.

“We are underdogs and very few people will expect us to get a result. The truth is that Telford should beat us, but we have already proven twice that we are capable of beating them.

“Telford will also know it is not going to be easy and we have to make sure we produce the very best performance we can. Guys have to put their bodies on the line in the play-offs. They did it last weekend against Swindon and they will need to do it again on Saturday.”

Manchester and Milton Keynes contest the other semi-final after both teams caused shocks at the quarter-final stage last weekend by dumping out higher-finishing Basingstoke and Guildford respectively.

Phantoms were ahead throughout their quarter-final showdown against Swindon as they claimed a 6-4 aggregate triumph.

Koulikov added: “We led for the whole tie but we produced our best performances in the first and last periods of the weekend which were really decisive.

“When we got the second goal on Sunday night I knew in my head we were going to make it. I just felt we wanted it that bit more than Swindon.”

GB SELECTION

Phantoms duo Tom Norton and Luke Ferrara have been selected for the Great Britain Senior Prospects team which will face Romania on Friday, April 10 in an international clash at the Fife Ice Arena in Scotland.

ISLANDERS

Peterborough Islanders were beaten in the National League Division Two South Cup finals last weekend.

They lost 4-2 to Basingstoke Buffalo in a semi-final despite being given a two-goal cushion in the opening period by Xandy Cleves and Conor Pollard.