The home of reigning English Premier League champions Telford again proved to be a happy hunting ground for Peterborough Phantoms last night (November 7).
The city side continued their own title challenge by picking up a deserved point in Shropshire before being pipped 3-2 in overtime by the big-spending and fast-improving Tigers.
The result – which followed up a late-September success at the same venue - was all the more impressive given Phantoms lost import star Darius Pliskauskas early in the second period.
The Lithuanian wizard was left shaken after taking a late hit after making a pass and took no further part in the game.
Goalscorer Marc Levers and defenceman Scott Robson both played on through knocks during a tough night for third-placed Phantoms as they led twice before eventually being beaten by a fine overtime strike from home import Max Birbraer.
Coach Slava Koulikov said: “I’m very pleased with the performance and another away point gained against a top team who are hitting form.
“The guys stuck together superbly in difficult circumstances. It is always tough to lose a player of Darius’ quality and we also had to kill a lot of penalties – some of them very questionable.
“We dominated some parts of the game – especially the first period when we just couldn’t find a way to put the puck in the net - and the guys showed again that they are always getting stronger against strong opposition.
“We have to be happy to have picked up three points already this season from two games on Telford’s ice.”
The biggest surprise was that it took to within seconds of the mid-point of the match for the deadlock to be broken.
Ales Padelek was the man to fire the telling blow at 29:36, but Phantoms’ advantage was short-lived as the hosts levelled at 31:00 on a powerplay.
Phantoms were back ahead as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second session. Levers struck short-handed on a delayed penalty at 39:59, but once again their advantage was quickly wiped out.
Telford made their powerplay count by levelling through Peter Szabo just 27 seconds into the final period to ensure both sides collected a point apiece, but it was the hosts who gained the extra point when Birbraer blasted in just over two minutes into overtime.
Import Milan Baranyk returned to the Phantoms side last night after knee trouble, but fellow overseas ace Pliskauskas is now a doubt for tonight’s (November 8) home clash against basement side Hull.
Victory at Planet Ice (5.30pm) would secure their spot in the semi-finals of the English Premier League Cup as well as more valuable league points.
31:00 Miller (PP) ass Weaver/Hill
40:27 Szabo (PP) ass: Zajac
62:05 Birbraer ass: Hill
29:36 Padelek ass: Pick/J. Ferrara
39:59 Levers (SH, DP)
Telford – Sam Gospel
Phantoms – Marc Levers