Head coach Slava Koulikov insists his Peterborough Phantoms men are ready for their National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South challenge.
The city men completed their preparations for the new season with a 7-4 success against Swindon at Planet Ice last night (September 10).
It was a second victory against the Wildcats - another team being tipped to challenge for honours - in the space of 24 hours following a 4-3 triumph in Wiltshire the previous night.
“We’ve won both games against a very good Swindon team, so we have to be happy about that,” said Koulikov.
“There were a lot of pleasing things to come from some tough and physical tests against them and Basingstoke the previous weekend.
“We’ve made a lot of progress and the confidence levels are good – both individually and collectively.
“Of course there are still areas that require some more improveent, but it always takes a little bit of time to get things right.
“Every coach would like pre-season to last longer, but we’re ready for the season to start.
“Every team wants to win trophies and we’re no different. We know we are one of the favourites, but that guarantees nothing.”
Phantoms twice saw leads - provided by Nathan Salem and Tom Norton - wiped out last night by responses from Swindon men Chris Jones and Toms Rutkis.
But two goals in quick succession around the mid-point of the match – a powerplay effort from Owen Griffiths and a first for the club from defensive recruit Ed Knaggs – gave the hosts a two-goal buffer after two periods.
It was halved barely a minute into the final session by visiting captain Jan Kostal before Salem struck again on a numerical advantage.
Swindon again replied through player-coach Aaron Nell, but pulling netminder Remy Marr backfired as Phantoms bagged two empty-net goals from import Ales Padelek and youngster Jack Escott.
The NIHL Division One South campaign kicks off with a home test against Bracknell this Saturday (September 16) ahead of a National Cup Group B trip to Division One North side Hull the following night.
11:23 Salem ass: Griffiths/Jamieson
24:24 Norton ass: J. Ferrara/Griffiths
29:00 Griffiths (PP) ass: Norton
32:54 Knaggs ass: Padelek/Billing
44:29 Salem (PP) unassisted
58:46 Padelek (ENG) ass: Weldon
59:49 Escott (ENG) ass: Knaggs
22:02 Jones ass: Hill
27:18 Rutkis ass: Kostal/Nell
41:07 Kostal ass: Nell
52:24 Nell ass: Birbraer
Phantoms – Scott Robson
Swindon – Jan Kostal