MATCH REACTION: Huge win over Sheffield took Slava by surprise

Slava Koulikov.
Slava Koulikov.

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov admitted his side’s English Premier League play-offs annihilation of Sheffield even took him by surprise.

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov admitted his side’s English Premier League play-offs annihilation of Sheffield even took him by surprise.

The city men launched their challenge for end-of-season honours with a 12-0 romp against the Steeldogs last night (March 22).

Incredibly, they only had one more on-target attempt than their visitors, but were in ruthless form with imports Darius Pliskauskas and Petr Stepanek bagging four goals apiece.

“I didn’t expect a scoreline like this,” admitted Koulikov. “But the main thing is winning our first game and picking up the two points.

“It was a very good performance from all of the guys. You don’t win a game 12-0 if everyone isn’t playing well.

“We could not wish for a better start to the group and it is a great response from the guys after the disappointment of losing in the EPL Cup final a few days ago.

“I know that really hurt them, but they came out the next night and won their last game of the regular season, and have now started the play-offs in the perfect way.”

The drubbing of Sheffield was the first of six games in 12 days as Phantoms did to qualify from Group A to reach the finals in Coventry over the weekend of April 8 & 9.

They now travel to league champions Telford this Saturday (March 25) before hosting reigning play-off champions Guildford the following night (March 26).

Guildford won 3-0 in Telford last night – a result which means the Tigers can’t really afford to slip up against Phantoms.

“Telford are now in a pressure situation,” added Koulikov. “I know they will not want to lose their first two play-off games at home.

“It would not be impossible for them to qualify for the finals if that did happen, but it would obviously make it very tough.

“Our focus is just on our own performances and results, though. We need to ensure we deliver for the full 60 minutes in every game.”

Phantoms have a slight injury concern over defenceman Robbie Ferrara who took a blow to the wrist last night.