Pride and joy for Koulikov after the perfect weekend

Mason Webster picks a fight with Bracknell's James Galazzi.
Mason Webster picks a fight with Bracknell's James Galazzi.

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov spoke of his pride in his players following a perfect start to 2015.

The city team strengthened their grip on third place in the English Premier League with victories against the teams at opposite ends of the standings last weekend.

A 4-0 home success over bottom side Bracknell last Saturday was followed by a terrific 5-4 triumph at table-topping Telford 24 hours later to provide a third four-point weekend of the season.

“It was important to make sure we didn’t slip up against Bracknell because they are not a bad team by any means,” admitted Koulikov. “We wanted to start the new year on a high and we did that despite it being quite a scrappy game.

“It is all about picking up points at this stage of the season and we managed to do it again the next night in Telford. We can be very proud of the way we went away to the top team and won.

“We didn’t want to go through the whole season losing to Telford so the result is very pleasing in that respect.

“They will almost certainly win the title from this position, but any team hoping to win the play-offs is going to have to beat them and we showed last Sunday that we can do that.

“Our netminder Janis Auzins faced 52 shots and made some really big saves, but it is difficult to single out individuals because every guy made important contributions to the team cause.

“They all gave everything they had. We had Cameron McGiffin playing despite being poorly last weekend and others have done that too.

“The team ethic and the desire of the guys give us an extra boost to win games.”

Koulikov will hope that is again the case when Phantoms travel to another top team, Basingstoke, on Saturday (6.30pm).

Phantoms then face a run of three remaining matches in the English Challenge Cup competition, starting with the visit of lower-level Solway Sharks to Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm).

They then travel to Solway and Blackburn the following weekend.