Peterborough Phantoms claimed a sweet slice of revenge to sink bogey side Basingstoke last night (December 6).
The city men had lost all three previous outings against their second-place rivals, but they started to set the English Premier League record straight with a 4-2 success in Hampshire.
And player-coach Slava Koulikov admitted he always though it was just a matter of time until his team got the better of the reigning play-off champions.
Koulikov said: “We might have lost the three previous games against Basingstoke, but I felt we could beat them and it is nice to get the result on their ice.
“Basingstoke are the second-best team in the league as far as I am concerned so I give plenty of credit to my guys for beating them.
“We were excellent in the first period, actually won a second period for a change and then saw the game out very solidly in the third period.
“We are halfway through the season and I can now safely say that my team are capable of competing against all the top teams in the league.”
Phantoms’ previous visit to Bison territory on the opening night of the season had featured a bench clearance brawl, but last night they let their hockey do the talking.
The sides traded early powerplay goals with Basingstoke hitting theirs after just 61 seconds through player-boss Doug Sheppard before Darius Pliskauskas replied in a five-on-three situation.
Alan Lack, who has committed himself to Phantoms for the rest of the season, then pounced to fire them into an advantage they never surrendered.
The remaining goals in the contest were all scored during a spell of little more than five minutes towards the end of the second period.
James Ferrara laid on a third Phantoms’ strike for Tom Norton before the roles were reversed as skipper Ferrara converted their fourth goal on a powerplay.
Basingstoke import Tomas Karpov had struck on a five-on-three in between that pair of Phantoms efforts.
There were no alterations to the scoreline in the final session although there was a change to the personnel as Bison defensive import Miroslav Vantroba received a match-penalty for ‘butt-ending’ Phantoms man Mason Webster.
Phantoms, who included young prospect James White in their roster, can complete a four-point weekend when entertaining Swindon Wildcats at Planet Ice tonight (Sunday, 5.30pm).
But Koulikov warned the in-form Wiltshire outfit cannot be taken lightly. He added: “They have won their last four games in all competitions and are climbing the table quickly.
“They could go third with a win, but we obviously want to finish the weekend on a high after starting it so well against Basingstoke.”
1:01 Sheppard (PP) ass: Long/Vantroba
36:18 Karpov (PP) ass: Vantroba/Rand
8:58 Pliskauskas (PP) ass: Norton
11:48 Lack ass: Apelis/Weldon
33:11 Norton ass: J. Ferrara/Baranyk
38:27 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Norton/Pliskauskas
Basingstoke – Joe Rand