Peterborough Phantoms are not taking a ninth win in a row for granted
Head coach Slava Koulikov insists Peterborough Phantoms will take nothing for granted as they bid to continue their stunning streak of victories.
The city team have reeled off eight consecutive wins – a run which has given them an outside chance of challenging for the NIHL National Division title and enabled them to reach the NIHL National Cup final.
Their run briefly came under threat last Saturday when they needed a last-minute winner from Corey McEwen to see off second-bottom Bracknell in their only game of the weekend.
Phantoms will now be expected to claim more success this Sunday when hosting another struggling side, Raiders, at Planet Ice (5.30pm).
“We’re obviously delighted to have won eight games in a row,” said Koulikov. “And we’ll do our best to make it nine.
“But I have never seen my team once in six years go into a game just expecting to get the two points. They always fully commit to the job and hit the ice with the right attitude and the mentality that they are capable of winning every game.
“I think the foundations of that come from the old English Premier League days where we used to come up against teams with £10,000 budgets and manage to compete with them.”
Koulikov was quick to admit that Phantoms weren’t at their best against Bracknell last Saturday when coming through a late scare.
They saw a two-goal advantage wiped out by the Bees in the final session before McEwen snatched victory.
And Koulikov was delighted to have first-choice netminder Jordan Marr back in the crease after he had missed the club’s two previous games due to personal reasons.
Koulikov added: “I’m sure the game against Bracknell was enjoyable for the fans and I’m also glad for the guys that we got the winning goal.
“It would have been harsh on us had Bracknell got a point and the game gone to overtime as I felt we were by far the better team in two of the three periods.
“It looked like it was a done deal until we picked up three penalties in the offensive zone and another for a delay of the game.
“They changed the momentum and Bracknell managed to get a couple of goals to bring themselves level, but even though it wasn’t our best performance we had the character and desire to respond with a winning goal.
“Jordan played really well and stood up tall when some clear chances came Bracknell’s way.
“His performance helped to put us well in control of the game until the penalties started creeping in during the third period.
“It’s good for him to be back out there and showed he is an important part of a team that is currently winning games.”
Third-placed Phantoms have now closed to within nine points of long-time leaders Telford, who lost twice last weekend and are only four points behind Swindon who were also beaten in Bracknell on Sunday.