They say all good things must come to an end.
And last night (February 18) that was the case for Peterborough Phantoms as their finest winning streak was wrecked at Planet Ice.
The city team had reeled off a staggering 23 successive victories against Bracknell before succumbing to a surprise 7-6 loss against the English Premier League bottom side in a thriller finally settled on penalty shots.
Few would have predicted a defeat against the Bees for the first time since 2013 when Phantoms powered into a 4-1 advantage in the opening session, but this is not the first time they’ve thrown away a sizable home advantage this season.
They roared into a four-goal lead against Sheffield back in October only to be pipped in overtime.
Koulikov said: “We got into a great position in the game, but switched off. It is hard to then switch back on again. We still managed to take a point from a tough situation, but we’re obviously very disappointed not to have won the game.
“It is difficult to always deliver a 60-minute performance when we have so many guys missing, but I must also give full credit to Bracknell. They fight for everything.”
Three goals in little more than three minutes soon put Phantoms in control last night.
Darius Pliskauskas guided the first through the legs of young Bees netminder Matthew Smital before Owen Griffiths stylishly finished some slick passing from Edgars Bebris and Pliskauskas.
Petr Stepanek then rifled in a blast on the turn before Bracknell import Luka Basic gobbled up a rebound to put the visitors on the board, but the simplest of powerplay goals from Marc Levers grew the gap again.
But if Phantoms, who welcomed defenceman Ben Russell back into action after a spell out with concussion, bossed the opening 20 minutes, the second session belonged to Bracknell.
Carl Thompson and Rio Grinell-Parke cut their deficit to a single goal and only a fine Adam Long save to deny Barker prevented them from levelling.
James White pounded to briefly give Phantoms extra breathing space but Shaun Thompson responded as Bracknell struck five seconds into a powerplay.
And, once again, the city side were reliant on their netminder to preserve their advantage as Long denied the same player with a big save moments later.
But there was no stopping Bracknell from clawing their way level in the final period as Basic grabbed his second of the night.
It was swiftly followed by another Shaun Thompson effort as the Bees briefly hit the front, but Phantoms were only behind for a little more than three minutes thanks to Pliskauskas finding the twine from the tightest of angles.
Neither side could manage another breakthrough in a frantic finish to an exciting 60 minutes and five minutes of overtime also provided a blank.
Phantoms needed two kind kisses off the pipes and a smashing Long save to survive that spell of three-on-three, sudden-death hockey, but there was no reprieve in the shoot-out.
Basic and player-coach Lukas Smital successfully tucked away their efforts for the Bees while Stepanek and Pliskauskas mis-fired for Phantoms, who now travel to table-toppers Telford tonight (February 19, 6pm).
4:49 Pliskauskas ass: Levers/Pick
7:16 Griffiths ass: Pliskauskas/Bebris
8:09 Stepanek ass: Padelek/Levers
15:45 Levers (PP) ass: Pliskauskas/Darge
32:48 White ass: Archer/Norton
54:17 Pliskauskas (PP) ass: Norton/Griffiths
13:04 Basic ass: Barker/Gaborcik
23:46 C. Thompson ass: L. Smital
26:41 Grinell-Parke ass: Pavlicek/L. Smital
35:09 S. Thompson (PP) ass: Gaborick/Barker
48:41 Basic ass: Lascenko
51:00 S. Thompson ass: Gaborcik/Basic
PHANTOMS – Darius Pliskauskas
BRACKNELL – Lukas Smital