Peterborough Phantoms Under 15s were crowned national champions yesterday (May 14).
The city youngsters travelled to Sheffield to compete in the English Ice Hockey Association’s coveted annual National Finals and became the first Peterborough team to be crowned national champions at junior level.
Phantoms reached the National Finals by claiming a respectable second-place finish in Division One behind unbeaten Chelmsford and it was the Essex side they beat in the final.
First up though in their semi-final were unbeaten Northern League champions Sheffield, a traditional powerhouse of English junior ice hockey.
But they were no match for the fiery Phantoms, who roared to an 8-2 victory with a performance that certainly turned a few heads.
Sunday’s final against favourites Chelmsford was quite a match.
Phantoms took an early lead through Jarvis Hunt as he followed up his own rebound to score and get the Phantoms on the board early to settle the team into the game.
The play flowed from end to end with both netminders making important saves and Phantoms Luke Clark putting in a mature performance in the net.
The first period ended with the Phantoms 1-0 ahead, the same scoreline in a tight second period saw Peterborough 2-0 up going into the final period after an excellent shot from Bradley Bowering was redirected high into the net by Ross Clarke for Phantoms.
Chelmsford started strongly applying early pressure on the Phantoms net but great collective defending kept the score line at 2-0 until late in the period when a rocket from Chelmsford’s Tommy Huggett set up a grandstand finish.
With nerves on edge going into the closing stages Chelmsford pulled their netminder for an extra skater to try and force a dramatic late equaliser and after frantic defending Bowering managed to clear the zone and the puck slid the length of the ice towards the empty net with Jarvis Hunt following up to make sure the game and crown of national champions went to Phantoms 3-1.
Peterborough has a history of producing some of the best hockey players in the UK but as a club, until now, they had never achieved a national championship.
Club head coach Jon Kynaston commented: “We are all delighted with this achievement, it is the culmination of many years of hard work and over the weekend in Sheffield the team did the club proud, it is some achievement.
“The team were organised well and delivered exactly what the coaching staff asked of them and reaped the rewards. I am pleased for the Under 15s coaching staff and manager, Mark (Bowering) and his assistants have worked hard with the group and deserve to enjoy the success.
“There are some top prospects in the team and some I am sure we will see mature to senior hockey very soon, it is great to see commitment and hard work coming to fruition.”