Perfect start to the play-offs for Peterborough Phantoms, but it's about to get a lot tougher

Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.
Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.
​Peterborough Phantoms enjoyed the perfect start to their National League play-off campaign with back-to-back wins over Bees.

The city side shrugged off the distraction of a lengthy ban for key forward Ralfs Circenis to follow a 5-3 win in Slough on Saturday with a 4-1 success at Planet Ice the following night.

The Bees were expected to be the group whipping boys, but two wins is a confidence booster for Slava Koulikov’s men ahead of a much harder weekend to come.

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Phantoms are at home to reigning champions Leeds Knight on Saturday (7pm face-off) and then travel to Yorkshire for an immediate re-match on Sunday (5.15pm).

Ivan Bjorkly-Nordstrom.Ivan Bjorkly-Nordstrom.
Ivan Bjorkly-Nordstrom.

Leeds also started the play-offs with two impressive wins (8-3 and 6-3) against Hull Seahawks.

Phantoms trailed 2-1 at the end of the first period of their opening fixture at Bees, but scored three unanswered goals in the second period before effectively sealing the win 10 minutes from time.

The hosts rallied to pull a goal back in the final seconds.

Phantoms were boosted by the return to their line-up of Martins Susters and he delivered a man-of-the-match display which included a goal and two assists.

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Lukas Sladkovsky cancelled out an early home goal on 7.24 and he also netted the equaliser early in the second period which started a Phantoms charge. Ivan Björkly-Nordström also netted twice.

Björkly-Nordström broke the deadlock in the home game with Bees in the 31st minute. The visitors promptly equalised, but Austin Mitchell-King fired Phantoms back in front and in command before the end of the second period.

Björkly-Nordström gave Slava Koulikov’s men the comfort of a two-goal cushion before top scorer Luke Ferrara bagged his first goal of the weekend with a late strike into an empty net after Bees had pulled their netminder.

Hull will be fancied to beat Bees twice this weekend and then it could be a decisive double header for Phantoms v the Seahawks on April 20/21. Phantoms are in Hull on the Saturday before a re-match at Planet Ice 24 hours later.

The play-off finals are in Coventry the following weekend.