MATCH REPORT: Cup hopes boosted by double-figure demolition
Peterborough Phantoms boosted their hopes of NIHL National Cup qualification by dishing out a double-figure demolition last night (January 4).
The city team thumped Sheffield 10-0 in a crucial Group B clash at Planet Ice. It was an emphatic success which lifted them above the Steeldogs into second place in the standings.
Phantoms were dominant from start to finish on a night when captain James Ferrara made an early breakthrough.
That was quickly followed by a first Phantoms goal for defenceman Nathan Long before Darius Pliskauskas and Will Weldon (on a powerplay) put the hosts in command.
Another four goals followed in the second period as Phantoms continued to go for the jugular.
An unassisted effort from player-coach Tom Norton was followed by a first goal of Nathan Pollard’s latest Phantoms spell. Defenceman Scott Robson then struck for the second successive game before Weldon added his second powerplay goal of the night.
Nathan Salem and Pliskauskas then struck just 76 seconds apart in the final session to carry Phantoms into double-figures for the fourth time this season.
The thumping triumph came complete with a shared shut-out for netminders Euan King, who was in action for the opening two periods before being replaced by young back-up Jack Peacock for the closing 20 minutes.
Phantoms’ qualification for the latter stages will be secured if Sheffield fail to win at table-toppers Hull in their first Group B fixture next Friday (January 12).
Phantoms still have to host Hull in their remaining group game, although that contest is yet to be scheduled and could become meaningless.
The attention switches back to Phantoms’ challenge for the NIHL Division One South title this Sunday (January 7) when they travel to London Raiders (5.30pm) for their only game of the weekend.
“It is always good to see my team win comfortably,” said Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.
“We created plenty of chances, scored a lot of goals and picked up two important points that have put us in a good position to qualify.
“We’re disappointed to have lost twice in Sheffield, but that’s now two big home victories against them.
“We want to do as well as we can in every competition, but we’re just taking it one game at a time.
“Last night the job was to beat Sheffield and we did that. Now we’ll look to London in the league this weekend, and then the NIHL Autumn Cup semi-final against Swindon after that.”
The city side sit level with Basingstoke at the top of the league standings, but have played one more game than the Bison.
3:43 J. Ferrara ass Billing/Pliskauskas
6:38 Long ass: Pliskauskas/Pollard
11:41 Pliskauskas unassisted
16:44 Weldon (PP) ass: Robson/Padelek
25:16 Norton unassisted
25:55 Pollard ass: Pliskauskas/Pick
34:08 Weldon (PP) ass: Norton
35:39 Robson ass: Jamieson/Griffiths
50:49 Salem ass: Jamieson/R. Ferrara
52:05 Pliskauskas ass: Long
Phantoms – Will Weldon
Sheffield – James Spurr