A sparkling performance from new boy Donotas Kumeliauskas lit up Peterborough Arena last night as the Peterborough Phantoms ground out a 5-3 win against Bracknell.
Kumeliauskas scored two goals and provided an assist in the tense win against the bottom of the table Bees in a man of the match display.
But the short benched Phantoms - missing Marc Levers, James Hutchinson, Darius Pliskausas, Mason Webster and Martin Susters through injury and suspension - made it hard work, losing the lead three times before securing the two points late on.
Phantoms took the lead on the power play after less than two minutes, as Luke Ferrara was left with the easiest of finishes after picking up a big rebound from close range. Lithuanian international Kumeliauskas notched his first point of the night with an assist on the goal.
Just four minutes later veteran Bees player coach Lukas Smital created space in the Phantoms defence to beat net minder Janis Auzins.
Phantoms took the lead again 90 seconds later, as James Ferrara, Milan Baranyk and Edgars Bebris combined in a slick move, with Bebris applying the finishing touch.
The Bees went into the first break all square though, as Matt Foord slotted the equaliser with eight minutes left of the period having been given time and space by the Phantoms’ blue liners.
Smital swapped his goalies at the interval, with Tom Annetts giving way to Alex Mettam - but Mettam was beaten twice in the first five minutes. The post saved him when Baranyk shot after thirty seconds, but he could not rely on the goal frame when Kumilauskas scored his first Phantoms goal, with Baranyk and Bebris picking up the assists.
It looked like Phantoms would head into the third period, until at 38.08 Radek Hubacek scrambled home a scruffy goal.
Mettam, who was named Bees’ man of the match, was beaten four minutes into the final session, when Phantom’s player coach Slava Koulikov fired what turned out to be the game winning goal past the Bees’ net minder.
But the win was not secured until Kumeliauskas picked up a loose puck in front of the net, and made no mistake with his shot.
The win moves Phantoms up to fourth place in the English Premier League table, one point ahead of the Swindon Wildcats.
The two teams face off in Swindon on Saturday in Peterborough’s only game of the weekend.