A first-ever senior goal from teenage defenceman Cam McGiffin set Peterborough Phantoms on the way to snapping a four-match losing streak last night (March 1).
The city team returned to winning ways with a 5-3 triumph over deposed champions Manchester Phoenix.
A powerful second period showing was the cornerstone of their second success of the season at the Altrincham Ice Dome.
McGiffin’s blast from the boards through traffic was cancelled out by Adam Walker, but three further Phantoms goals ensured they took command.
Edgars Bebris and Darius Pliskauskas both scored for the second successive night either side of a Luke Ferrara effort.
Phantoms made life tough for themselves as Will Weldon and captain James Ferrara both took 10-minute misconduct penalties and Manchester’s pressure earned them a second goal.
But no sooner had Bobby Chamberlain’s effort given the hosts hope of a fightback than player-coach Slava Koulikov delivered Phantoms’ clincher on a delayed penalty just 42 seconds later.
There was still time for Frantisek Bakrlik to bag another goal for Manchester, but this was Phantoms’ night as a welcome win was secured.
“It was a nice moment for Cam to get his first goal,” said Koulikov. “The guys are all happy for him and we gave him the puck to remember the moment.
“Everyone is also happy to have won the game. They were so hungry for a result after not getting anything out of the Telford game on Saturday.
“Winning twice in a season in Manchester is a good achievement as it is far from the easiest place to go.
“We worked hard in the first period, got control of the game in the second and scored at an important time when Manchester came back at us in the final period.”
The victory pulled Phantoms six points clear of Manchester in the league standings with a game in hand. It should ensure the Phoenix are no threat to their fifth place.
Phantoms’ sights will no doubt be set much higher than that as they remain within touching distance of fourth-placed Swindon while Basingstoke are only five points away in third.
Phantoms do battle with Manchester again on Sunday (March 8) at Planet Ice in a clash which follows a Saturday (March 7) trip to champions Telford.
22:41 Walker ass: Bakrlik/Wood
53:29 Chamberlain ass: Kovar/Thompson
58:49 Bakrlik ass: Walker/Graham
21:45 McGiffin ass: Bebris/Weldon
27:05 Bebris ass: Weldon/Buckman
31:10 L. Ferrara ass: Baranyk/Koulikov
38:41 Pliskauskas ass: L. Ferrara/Bebris
54:11 Koulikov (DP) ass: Norton
Manchester – Johan Burlin
Phantoms – Luke Ferrara