Late heartbreak for Peterborough Phantoms in a play-off semi-final

Peterborough Phantoms suffered a heartbreaking National League play-off semi final defeat against arch rivals MK Lightning in Coventry.

By Tom Lea
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 11:26 am
Peterborough Phantoms captain Will Weldon lies down to try and block an MK Lightning shot. Photo: Darrill Soddart.

It was a sickener for the city side after they’d stormed into a 4-1 lead in the first period, only to lose 6-5 with the winning goal arriving six minutes from time.

But the game didn’t start the way the Phantoms would’ve hoped. When Nathan Pollard found himself in the penalty box inside the opening minute, Liam Stewart lashed an effort into the top corner to put MK ahead.

But the leveller did quickly follow. Jasper Foster took a smart pass from Brad Bowering and advanced into the zone, before releasing an inch perfect wrist shot into the top corner of the net.

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Phantoms celebrate Jasper Foster's goal against MK. Photo: Darrill Stoddart

Russell Cowley had a big chance to put MK back in front moments later after a poor Phantoms line change, but Jordan Marr was equal to the shot from the left circle.

Next came the kind of spell in a game which doesn’t tend to happen too often. Three Phantoms goals inside two minutes saw them lead 4-1 in the opening period.

The first of those was scored by Corey McEwen, who took a pass from Jarvis Hunt in an odd man rush situation, and snapped his effort over a sprawling goalie and into the net.

Ales Padelek added his name to the scoresheet just 11 seconds later, and Petr Stepanek added the fourth after more good work by Bowering, with 16:30 on the clock in the first period.

Jarvis Hunt in action for Phantoms against MK. Photo: Darrill Stoddart

But given it was only the first period, there was still a long way to go. And that was highlighted when Sam Talbot ripped an effort past Jordan Marr to cut the Phantoms’ lead straight back down to two.

And it was a one goal game with five and a half minutes played in the middle period. Sean Norris found space in the centre of the Phantoms’ zone and lashed his effort beyond Marr after being found by Bobby Chamberlain.

MK completed their comeback with 1:50 to play in the second period. Ex-NHL’er Tim Wallace was the man who found the net to send the teams in tied at four, ahead of the decisive third period in Coventry.

And the third period didn’t start the way the Phantoms would’ve wanted either. Adam Laishram put the Lightning ahead in the first minute after circling around the net and firing past Marr.

It looked like a tall order for the Phantoms to get themselves back into the game at this stage, but they were handed a lifeline when former Phantom Ed Knaggs sat a boarding penalty.

And the Phantoms capitalised on their chance - Nathan Salem found the net from a tight angle, exposing a gap left by goalie Smital.

It did feel like the next goal would win the game and that was how it turned out. When Chris Wells called Tom Barry for an alleged slashing penalty, it was Wallace who found space in the zone to send an effort agonisingly into the back of the Phantoms net.

MK went on to lose the final 4-1 to Sheffield Steeldogs.