Phantoms: Home comforts help Baranyk get back to his best

Milan Baranyk in action against Basingstoke last Sunday. Photo: Alan Storer/Feral Marmot Films

Milan Baranyk in action against Basingstoke last Sunday. Photo: Alan Storer/Feral Marmot Films

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Peterborough Phantoms import star Milan Baranyk has been revitalised by a family visit.

Player-coach Slava Koulikov believes a few days back in his homeland last week did the Czech frontman good.

He certainly returned in impressive fashion by contributing one goal and four assists as Phantoms tackled two sets of champions last weekend.

They saw off league title-winners Manchester 5-4 before slipping to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of play-off holders Basingstoke.

Koulikov said: “It can always be hard for a hockey player to be in a different country to his family.

“Milan had been struggling a bit for a few weeks and every goalscorer goes through spells like that.

“We spoke at length about what we could do to get him back in top form and he felt a few days back at home with his family would help.

“It seems to have done that. He was one of the best players on the ice last weekend.”

Baranyk is no stranger to life abroad after playing in Slovakia, Poland and France before arriving on these shores for the first time during the summer.

The 34 year-old has settled smoothly into the UK game with 27 points to his name from 22 appearances in a Phantoms shirt to date.

He said: “For the first time I went home to see my family.

“It was great to see them again after being away in England and I am going home again for a few days at Christmas, but now I am back in Peterborough and I am determined to play well for the team in every game.

“We had a good win against Manchester in a tough game. Every time we play them it is a big game and it was a shame we couldn’t beat Basingstoke as well.”

Boss Koulikov admits he is growing concerned by sub-standard showings from his team in the second period of games.

It happened twice last weekend as they saw a three-goal advantage wiped out in the middle session by Manchester and fell 4-2 down against Basingstoke.

Koulikov added: “It is something we have spoken about as a group and clearly has to be put right.

“We have been starting games very well in the first period and we have also finished them strongly, but the second period is letting us down.

“We will review it in more detail at practice ahead of the games this weekend.”