Buckman tells histeam not to worry about league table

Phantoms have been told not to worry about the NIHL Division One South standings ahead of a top-of-the-table showdown this Saturday.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 8:58 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:33 pm
Ales Padelek celebrates opening the scoring against MK. Picture: Tom Scott

The pacesetting city side travel to second-placed Bracknell (6.30pm) for another crucial clash in an exciting title chase where the top four teams are currently covered by just four points.

Phantoms, who possess a three-point cushion at the summit and games in hand on their pursuers, have a score to settle as they make a quick return to The Hive after seeing victory turn into overtime defeat at the same venue only a fortnight ago.

They led the Bees 2-1 entering the final minute of regulation time on that occasion, but eventually succumbed 3-2 after being on the receiving end of a couple of questionable refereeing calls.

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Assistant coach Jason Buckman, who takes charge for the second weekend running with head coach Slava Koulikov away at the World Under 20 Championships, said: “It’s a top-of-the-table game and clearly an important one, but what happens on Saturday night won’t make or ruin our season.

“We don’t need to put pressure on ourselves by spending too much time worrying about the league table.

“Winning the title is very much on the agenda, but it’s not something we talk about too often in mid-January when there is so much hockey still to play.

“The focus is on each practice, each game and each weekend as we aim to ensure we continue to pick up the results we need.

“It was a tight game in Bracknell recently and the two refereeing calls put us on the back foot. While those decisions did definitely cost us, getting a point there was still important.

“We’re not worried about revenge for that, though. It’s all about this game and we’ll aim to get something out of it again.”

The Saturday visit to Bracknell is followed by a Sunday home date against Streatham at Planet Ice (5.30pm).

Buckman added: “ It’s easy to drop down a couple of gears when facing a lesser team as we did last weekend.

“We now need to raise it again in Bracknell and the guys won’t need telling that. We also need to ensure we get the job done against Streatham who definitely can’t be taken lightly.

“They have a powerplay which works well and have beaten Swindon and Basingstoke this season.”