Coach Koulikov is keen to keep the Peterborough Phantoms’ train on track as Stepanek returns to Planet Ice!

Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov has challenged his players to maintain the high standards that delivered two excellent National League wins last weekend.

By Tom Lea
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 6:22 pm
Petr Stepanek in action for Phantoms. Photo: Tom Scott
Petr Stepanek in action for Phantoms. Photo: Tom Scott

Phantoms came from 2-0 down to win 5-2 at Basingstoke on Saturday (January 8) and then thumped third-placed Swindon 5-0 at Planet Ice 24 hours later.

Phantoms moved up a place to sixth and could climb into the top half if they carry their winning momentum into Saturday’s game at home to Bees (January 15, 7pm) and a daunting trip to leaders Telford on Sunday.

Their chances have improved with the return of Czech import Petr Stepanek to Planet Ice.

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Joe Gretton celebrates a goal for Phantoms against Swindon last weekend. Photo: Darrill Stoddart.

Koulikov said: “Petr has been a big part of our team for the last few years and it’ll be brilliant to get him back in our line-up. We all know he brings size, intelligence on the puck and a good shot and we’re looking forward to seeing him back in a Phantoms jersey.

“Saturday’s game against the Bees is another important one for us as we want to keep the train rolling. We need to make sure the execution of our game plan is as good as last weekend.

“If we can reach those levels, we’ll give ourselves a good chance of winning in front of our brilliant fans again on Saturday night.

“Telford are top of the league for a reason. They have a good coach in Tom Watkins and they have good depth in their line-up with a mix of experienced guys and younger, local Brits with big futures ahead of them. But, again, if our compete level is where it needs to be and the guys go in with the same mindset and determination they did last weekend, we’ll be giving ourselves the best possible chance of winning the game.

Will Weldon celebrates a goal for Phantoms against Swindon. Photo: Darrill Stoddart.

“Last weekend was a really good one for us. In Basingstoke we actually started the game pretty well, but a lapse in concentration meant we went 2-0 down. But the guys didn’t give up and got straight onto the task of pulling the game back and scoring five unanswered goals which in a rink like Basingstoke isn’t easy to do.

“The guys stuck to the game plan I set out and full credit goes to them for the way they executed it!

“And on Sunday you could just see how much the boys wanted to win for themselves and for the fans after a tough start to 2022. I could see it in the room before the game that everyone was dialled in and ready to really take the game to Swindon and that’s exactly what they did.

“We came under pressure at times, but our defence blocked lots of shots and Jordan Marr was amazing in goal.”