Peterbrorough Phantoms made the perfect start to the new English Premier League season last night (September 12).
The reigning play-off champions powered to a 6-3 success at Swindon as summer signings Ales Padelek and Lloyd Gibson marked their competitive debuts for the city club with goals.
Milan Baranyk needed only 17 seconds to make the first breakthrough of the new campaign, but Phantoms conceded twice in the space of 86 seconds to fall behind in a lively opening session.
The pendulum quickly swung back their way as blue-line blasts from captain James Ferrara and defenceman Tom Norton moved them back into the ascendancy.
They strengthened their grip on proceedings in the second period when Marc Levers and Padelek found the net either side of the mid-point of the match.
Levers seized on a loose puck to smash home before Padelek struck from a tight angle to leave Phantoms in command and home netminder Stevie Lyle heading for the bench.
The Wildcats player-coach took himself out of the firing line for the remainder of the contest with replacement Jordan Hedley faring considerably better.
He conceded only once when Gibson sealed victory on a breakaway deep into the third period and the hosts helped themselves to a consolation within 60 seconds as Janis Auzins was beaten for a third time.
Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov said: “Starting well is very important in a tough league and it is good to get into the habit of picking up wins.
“Going to Swindon certainly wasn’t an easy opening game, but we produced a good performance to get the two points.
“Janis played really well and made some brilliant saves early in the game. He gave the rest of the team confidence to build on just as he did throughout last season.
“We also spread out the goals which is pretty similar to last year. We will hopefully have a lot of people chipping in again.”
Phantoms will aim to complete a four-point opening weekend on home ice tonight (September 13). They host Basingstoke at Planet Ice (5.30pm).
The Bison also launched their campaign in winning style courtesy of an overtime triumph in Guildford last night.
7:24 Nell unassisted
8:50 Kostal ass: McEwen/Selby
54:36 Malasinski ass: McEwen
0:17 Baranyk ass: Bebris
10:16 J. Ferrara ass: Pliskauskas/Scott
12:30 Norton (PP) ass: Bebris/Levers
29:11 Levers ass: Bebris/Baranyk
32:04 Padelek ass: Gibson/Susters
53:38 Gibson ass: Weldon/Padelek
Swindon – Jan Kostal
Phantoms – Edgars Bebris