Phantoms looking for revenge against Pirates

Nathan Salem scores the second of his two goals against Cardiff on Saturday. Picture: Tom Scott
Nathan Salem scores the second of his two goals against Cardiff on Saturday. Picture: Tom Scott
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Phantoms are seeking revenge on Saturday night for their only defeat of the season so far.

The city team entertain Hull Pirates at Planet Ice (7pm) in a NIHL National Cup clash - and victory is very much required for Slava Koulikov’s men as they attempt to advance from Group B to reach the latter stages of the competition.

Phantoms were beaten 6-3 in the reverse fixture last month when paying the price for a sloppy start – and Koulikov expects better on this occasion.

“We lost the first cup game so we have work to do,” said Koulikov.

“We are here to compete for all trophies this season so we need to pick up points on Saturday.

“A slow start to the game cost us in Hull as we fell 3-0 down in the first period. We were better in the second period but conceded a couple more goals due to breakdowns.

“We gave it a real go in the final period, but you can’t come back from being 5-1 down against a team of Hull’s calibre.

“They have a good core of British players including some guys who are familiar to us from last season.”

One of those players – forward James Archer – hit a hat-trick for Hull, who play in NIHL Division One North, in their home victory.

Phantoms face another team from that section – and another of their former English Premier League adversaries – in another cup clash on Sunday.

They travel to Sheffield for a rare 1pm outing against the Steeldogs in Group 1 of the NIHL Autumn Cup.

Phantoms have been involved in plenty of feisty fixtures against the South Yorkshire side in recent years and Koulikov does not expect the latest battle to be any different.

He added: “A lunchtime game is certainly unusual, but it is the same for both teams. Sheffield are also playing on Saturday night.

“They have a new coach this season, but we know what to expect from them.

“This weekend will provide two tough tests for us and we’re looking forward to them. These are the sort of games that we want to be involved in.”

Sheffield are all but out of the competition after already losing home and away against Basingstoke.

Phantoms then host Sheffield again on October 28 before facing Basingstoke on November 18 (home) and December 3 (away).

Sheffield also feature in Phantoms’ NIHL National Cup group along with Hull.