Captain Ferrara chasing his '˜dream of a lifetime'
James Ferrara hopes to fulfil a lifelong ambition tomorrow night . . . by lifting a trophy at Planet Ice.
The Phantoms captain is no stranger to getting his hands on silverware after leading the city club to English Premier League play-offs glory back in 2015.
While he will never forget the fantastic feeling of collecting that crown in Coventry after scoring the clinching goal of their final triumph against Manchester Pheonix, the 30 year-old would really love to help Phantoms land more honours on their own ice.
And they can do that when hosting Sheffield in the second leg of a delicately poised NIHL Autumn Cup final, 7.30pm start, following a 2-2 deadlock in the opening clash in the Steel City last week.
“Winning the play-offs in front of so many people was the highlight of my career,” said Ferrara. “But to win silverware in our own rink is something I have always thought about.
“It would be absolutely amazing and a dream of a lifetime for me if it happens.
“The guys have fought so hard in the first half of this season and we go into the game with lots of belief and momentum after a good run of results lately.
“We’ve also shown character and resilience - in the first leg in Sheffield and in Milton Keynes last Saturday in the league - to dig our results in games where we haven’t been at our best.”
But Ferrara is quick to admit it will be far from a cakewalk for Phantoms tomorrow.
They struggled for much of the opening leg before clawing their way back onto level terms thanks to late goals from Glenn Billing and Ales Padelek which arrived just 19 seconds apart in the final period.
“We weren’t at our best in the first leg in Sheffield and we were pleased to come out of there level after being 2-0 down going into the third period,” continued Ferrara.
“We came up with two big goals in a short space of time and they have really set the tie up for the second leg.
“Sheffield executed their gameplan really well and credit where it is due to them for the way they frustrated us and I’m sure they will look to do that again.
“But we have to make sure we get our own approach right and put into practice the plans that Slava and the coaching staff put together.”
And Ferrara insists brilliant backing from the Phantoms fans will a massive help.
The club’s faithful created a fine atmosphere during their top-of-the-table triumph against NIHL Division One South title rivals Swindon last Sunday and Ferrara is hoping for a repeat tomorrow.
He added: “The atmosphere on Sunday night was incredible - by far the best I’ve known in recent years - and I’m sure a lot of people went to work on Monday morning with sore throats.
“The fans were right behind us from the moment the puck was dropped and stuck with us all the way to the overtime winner.
“It was great to be able to get the result for them and we will aim to do the same tomorrow when they hopefully turn out in big numbers again.
“The more people we have behind us, the better it will be for us on what could be a famous night for Peterborough hockey.”