Peterborough Phantoms tasted defeat last night (March 11) on the eve of their big English Premier League Cup final.
The city men went down 4-2 to Guildford Flames in their penultimate outing of the regular league season – and the loss at The Spectrum leaves them vulnerable in third spot in the standings.
Phantoms were up against it in Surrey after conceding twice in the space of little more than two minutes early on. Jez Lundin’s powerplay opener was swiftly followed by a David Savage strike.
The deficit was doubled during the second period as Marek Maslonka netted before Michael Satek put away another powerplay effort.
Phantoms halved their arrears in the closing stages thanks to an Edgars Bebris brace. The big forward struck twice inside the final five minutes.
His first effort arrived as Phantoms cashed in a five-minute powerplay which followed the ejection of Guildford import Kari Sihvonen for resisting the officials in a fight with Greg Pick. The Finn continued to strike the Phantoms man after both players had fallen to the ice.
Bebris then struck again with five seconds left on the clock.
Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov said: “We fought back late on, but left it a little bit too late.
“We conceded a couple of times when killing penalties and didn’t take chances to even the game out.
“But we showed our character to still be fighting when 4-0 down. Overall Guildford deserved the win, but there are also positives to take out of the game.
“We try to play each game at a time, but it is tough for the guys not to have the final in the back of their minds.
“We will get a good night’s rest and make sure we are prepared as well as we possibly can be for the first leg. We have a full squad with no injuries and that’s pleasing in itself.”
Phantoms remain third but could now be leapfrogged by Basingstoke, who are a point behind but still have two games to play. The city side’s remaining regular-season outing is also against Guildford next Sunday (March 19).
Before then Phantoms have two mouth-watering clashes against fierce rivals MK in the cup showpiece. The first of those is tonight, March 12, at Planet Ice (5.30pm) ahead of a return clash in Buckinghamshire next Saturday (March 18).
7:42 Lundin (PP) ass: Eriksson/Campbell
9:51 Savage ass: Lundin/Satek
26:58 Maslonka ass: Santavouri/Meyers
35:52 Satek ass: Phillips/Duggan
55:09 Bebris (PP) ass: Norton
59:55 Bebris ass: Levers
GUILDFORD – Jez Lundin
PHANTOMS – Edgars Bebris