MATCH REPORT: Phantoms power four points clear at the top ahead of crunch match
A second successive four-point weekend has carried Peterborough Phantoms four points clear at the top of NIHL Division One South.
The city team saw off basement boys Cardiff Fire last night (January 28) when breezing to a 9-2 triumph at the Ice Arena Wales – that came 24 hours after a 6-2 home success against the same opponents.
And head coach Slava Koulikov was left purring by the display of his side in the Welsh capital, where captain James Ferrara led the way with four goals.
“It was a very professional performance,” said Koulikov. “We knew the result was in our hands and the way we earned it really pleased me.
“We were good to watch in the first period when we took control of the game. We were disciplined throughout the 60 minutes and our attention to detail was very impressive.
“Everyone involved played well and I’m very happy with what I saw from my guys.”
Koulikov again gave ice-time to 16 year-old prospects Bradley Bowering and Jarvis Hunt after they were handed their first tastes of senior hockey the previous night.
Back-up netminder Jack Peacock also played three-quarters of the contest after first-choice Euan King was pulled out of action with 15:01 on the clock.
Phantoms were already three goals to the good by then thanks to a brace of Leigh Jamieson efforts which sandwiched skipper Ferrara’s first of the night.
Nathan Salem then struck in the closing minute of the opening session before adding the only goal of the second period.
Ferrara seized back the scoring initiative with a powerplay effort early in the final stanza before completing his treble.
Will Weldon also got in on the act during a powerplay before Ferrara completed the scoring little more than half-a-minute later on a night when only the exploits of Fire netminder Jordan Lawday prevented a third double-figure haul of the campaign against these opponents.
Phantoms have now found the net 38 times in all during their four wins against Fire this season.
A considerably tougher test lies ahead this weekend in the chase for honours. Phantoms travel to closest challengers Basingstoke on Saturday (February 3, 6.30pm) and the significance of the showdown in Hampshire is not lost on Koulikov.
He added: “We won’t lose the league title if we lose there, but a win in Basingstoke could be a huge step towards winning it.
“We have to get back to work on Wednesday and Friday and make sure we are in good shape to go to there and produce the right performance in a big game.”
40:11 Powell unassisted
57:22 Manning (PP) ass: Powell
8:10 Jamieson ass: Salem
9:11 J. Ferrara ass: Griffiths/Russell
13:40 Jamieson ass: Weldon/Russell
19:21 Salem ass: Billing/J. Ferrara
32:06 Salem ass: Jamieson
43:15 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Norton/Weldon
48:42 J. Ferrara ass: Pliskauskas/Norton
51:33 Weldon (PP) ass: Norton/Griffiths
52:06 J. Ferrara ass: Pliskauskas/Griffiths
Cardiff Fire: Jordan Powell
Phantoms: James Ferrara