Peterborough Phantoms’ saw their four-game winning streak blown apart by the English Premier League’s highest scorers last night (November 12).
The city team were beaten 6-3 by a prolific Hull side preserving their unbeaten home record - and coach Slava Koulikov admitted much of the damage was self-inflicted.
Phantoms conceded three times in the opening session and found themselves trailing 5-0 just past the mid-point of the contest.
And while Koulikov was encouraged by his men’s attempts to claw their way back into the game, he was quick to admit they left themselves with far too much to do against a formidable set of opponents.
He said: “We dug ourselves a hole in the first period and we couldn’t get back out of it.
“We didn’t play particularly well and we got punished against a team who are excellent at home and who score a lot of goals.
“Having said that we did have some good spells in the game and got it back to 5-2.
“We came so close to making it 5-3 as well when hitting the crossbar and had that effort gone in, the comeback would have been on.
“But we conceded a really sloppy goal at the other end and that finished the game.
“We’ve got to correct a couple of things, move on and try to get back to winning ways as soon as we can.”
Hull took control with a quickfire brace from defenceman Jonathan Kirk. He struck the opener on the powerplay at 7:35 and quickly followed up with a second goal just 78 seconds later.
And it went from bad to worse for Phantoms as hot-shot Andrej Themar fired a third Hull goal at the third attempt with 12:23 on the clock.
The deficit continued to grow as Hull produced another speedy scoring salvo around the mid-point of the match.
Nathan Salem hit a fortunate fourth with the aid of a deflection off a skate at 28:56 before Lithuanian international Ugnius Cizas got in on the act less than two minutes later at 30:32.
Phantoms were again frustrated by the frame of the goal as Wehebe Darge hit a post between those two Hull strikes, but Ales Padelek finally succeeded in opening the visitors’ account on a powerplay at 35:17.
They further reduced the deficit when Owen Griffiths pounced on a rebound 60 seconds into the final session before the crossbar denied Petr Stepanek another goal moments later.
But any feint hopes of a fightback were dashed when big Hull import Jaroslav Sarsok was allowed time and space to find the twine at 47:43.
That proved to be the end of Phantoms netminder Janis Auzins’ night as Adam Long was given the remainder of the game and recorded a 12-minute shut-out.
The only further change to the scoreline was provided by a Darius Pliskauskas consolation at 51:15 as Phantoms refused to roll over.
They are back on home ice tonight (November 13) when they host table-topping Telford at Planet Ice (5.30pm).
The title favourites appear to have been plunged into crisis after reports emerged that they could be forced to enter administration early next week.
However, it certainly didn’t affect their performance on the ice as they annihilated lowly Bracknell 11-2 last night.
Koulikov added: “I’ve heard a few rumours about things happening in Telford, but our focus is on the game and making sure we give ourselves the best chance of winning it.”
Veteran forward Marc Levers could return after missing the trip to Hull with a foot problem, but defenceman Scott Robson is now a doubt after picking up a similar injury last night.
7:35 Kirk (PP) ass: Osman/Themar
8:53 Kirk ass: Chilcott
12:23 Themar ass: Lascek/Haywood
28:56 Salem ass: Cizas/Maynard
30:32 Cizas ass: Salem/Hewitt
47:43 Sarsok ass: Salem/Cizas
35:03 Padelek (PP) ass: Stepanek/Auzins
41:00 Griffiths ass: Pliskauskas/Robson
51:15 Pliskauskas ass: Norton/Glossop
HULL – Nathan Salem
PHANTOMS – Ales Padelek