Peterborough Phantoms are this morning (January 5) basking in the glory of one of the finest results of the English Premier League season.
The city team delivered a display full of quality and desire to sink table-topping Telford 5-4 on their own ice last night (January 4) and secure a third four-point weekend of a season which continues to impress.
Slava Koulikov’s men became only the second side to overcome the Tigers in regulation time all season – all three of the pacesetters’ previous defeats inside an hour had been inflicted by in-form Swindon.
It was a victory featuring four powerplay goals and the latest in a long line of stellar showings from Latvian netminder Janis Auzins.
He dealt with the vast majority of the 52 shots unleashed in his direction while those in front of him also excelled.
Koulikov said: “I’m very proud of the way we performed to pick up a result which once again proves that we can compete with any team in this league.
“Every player contributed to a great team effort. Full credit to the guys for beating the league leaders in their own rink.
“We had to kill a lot of penalties and Janis kept us in the game big-time by saving so many of the shots he faced, but we also did well when we had opportunities on the powerplay.
“I’m delighted to start the new year with a four-point weekend.”
Phantoms, who were without injured defensive import Edgars Apelis for the second successive night, hit the front when Milan Baranyk made their first powerplay count.
They were unable to cash in on a five-minute numerical advantage after home player Rick Plant had been thrown out for a checking to the head offence on Cam McGiffin, but they didn’t have to wait long for another penalty which was punished by Marc Levers’ second goal in as many nights.
Next it was Telford’s turn to convert on the powerplay as Jonathan Weaver halved theeir arrears, but Phantoms remained in the driving seat as goals were exchanged in the opening moments of the second session.
Edgars Bebris bagged the visitors’ sole even-handed effort of the night only for Scott McKenzie to reply within 15 seconds, but Telford squandered a gift-wrapped chance to level when Auzins kept out a Peter Szabo penalty shot.
Outgoing Alan Lack provided additional breathing space when popping up with a goodbye goal (which followed an earlier farewell fight) in his final appearance and Phantoms held the two-goal cushion until deep into the final minute of the stanza when Maxim Birbraer struck.
A fifth Phantoms goal from defenceman Scott Robson eventually proved decisive before Telford pulled netminder Tom Murdy for a final flourish.
It was a move which reaped reward as Szabo found the net with 54 seconds remaining, but Phantoms stood strong as the clock ticked down to a memorable victory.
And they will be chasing another away scalp in the form of a second win of the season at Basingstoke when returning to action on Saturday (January 10).
13:10 Weaver (PP) ass: Szabo
21:10 McKenzie ass: Miller
39:21 Birbrear ass: Miller/Davies
59:06 Szabo ass: Weaver/Birbraer
3:15 Baranyk (PP) ass: Bebris
10:24 Levers (PP) ass: Lack/Pliskauskas
20:55 Bebris ass: Baranyk
28:23 Lack (PP) ass: Pliskauskas/Levers
55:20 Robson (PP) ass: Baranyk/Levers
Telford – Nathan Salem
Phantoms – Janis Auzins