ICE HOCKEY: Phantoms to sign Stepanek? Phantoms do re-sign Auzins

Janis Auzins has signed on for a third season at Peterborough Phantoms.

Janis Auzins has signed on for a third season at Peterborough Phantoms.

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Peterborough Phantoms’ have received a huge boost as star metminder Janis Auzins agreed to stay on at the club for a third season.

Auzins, the reigning Peterborough Telegraph Sportsman of the Year, is rated by many as the best in his position in the English Premier League.

Certainly Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov thinks so. He will build his 2016-17 team around Auzins.

“Janis has been a big part of our set up for the last two seasons on and off the ice,” Koulikov said.

“The goalie is the most important position in the roster and I am delighted to have best goalie in the league returning for another season. Janis has great stats and gives us a chance to win every game. We all know what he can do and that is win us big games.

“Janis doesn’t just deliver on the ice, but off ice he helps and works with goalies through our junior system, He will be even more involved next season, doing goalie camps to help develop British goalies.

“Now we have Janis back, we will build team around him and core guys from last season!”

Auzins added: “I am really happy to be signing again at Peterborough. The team and staff are very welcoming and I am glad to have the opportunity to play with these guys again. The fans are amazing, and it’s always a pleasure to play in front of them.2

Phantoms could also be on the verge of signing Czech forward Petr Stepanek.

The city club’s move for Stepanek was listed as a done deal on the transfer service provided by Elite Prospects, the sport’s statistical bible, over the weekend.

But the transaction was then removed yesterday (May 1) afternoon – even though reports in the Czech Republic still suggest the 26 year-old is bound for Peterborough.

Stepanek has been playing at Third Division level in his homeland for HC Zdar nad Sazavou. He contributed 42 points (25 goals and 17 assists) in 25 games last season.

A club spokesperson refused to confirm or deny whether they are chasing Stepanek when contacted by the Peterborough Telegraph yesterday.

Phantoms have already finalised four of their import players for next season with Darius Pliskauskas and Milan Baranyk both on multi-year deals and Ales Padelek snapped up for a second season.

There are also rumours that the import quota may be increased at EPL level next term.