Peterborough Phantoms cap a fine weekend by sinking Sheffield Steeldogs
Two wins, four points, a rise into third place in the NIHL National Division and a semi-final spot secured in the NIHL National Cup – it’s safe to say it wasn't a bad weekend for Peterborough Phantoms.
Hat-trick hero Martins Susters did the majority of the damage as the city men saw off Sheffield Steeldogs 4-1 at Planet Ice on Sunday night to follow up their Saturday derby success against fierce rivals Milton Keynes Lightning.
Forward ace Susters struck three times in the opening period for the second time in Phantoms’ last three home games with Nathan Pollard also getting in on the act as all of their goals arrived inside 20 minutes.
Susters also bagged an early treble in a 10-1 drubbing of Raiders a fortnight earlier and a similarly sizeable scoreline again looked a distinct possibility last night.
However, despite applying plenty of pressure and carving out a stack of chances, they were unable to add to their tally on this occasion.
But that was nothing more than a minor irritation for head coach Slava Koulikov at the end of a weekend which provided plenty of reasons for celebration.
“We had a very high intensity game in Milton Keynes the previous night and that took a lot out of the guys,” said Koulikov.
“So it was great to be able to get our goals really quickly in the first period against Sheffield and the night then became more about maintenance.
“We knew how important it was to get the two points and we were happy to hold onto our lead rather than chase lots of goals by playing open hockey.
“Of course we would have liked to score a couple more – and we had the chances to do that – but we got the job done even though it wasn’t always pretty.
“It’s our second four-point weekend of the season which is really pleasing and even more so as it means we have made it to the semi-finals of the cup.”
Susters needed only 73 seconds to break the deadlock after linemate Petr Stepanek was denied.
Nathan Pollard gobbled up another rebound from Steeldogs netminder Dimitri Zimozdra to double the lead before Susters returned to centre-stage.
He provided a fitting finish to a fine Stepanek pass to provide Phantoms’ third goal before completing his own treble when forcing the puck in after Zimozdra had half-stopped his initial effort.
The total domination from Phantoms carried on throughout the second period, but their goal tally did not continue to rise.
In fact the advantage was actually cut when Steeldogs’ player-coach Ben Morgan ended excellent netminder Jordan Marr’s hopes of a shut-out.
A couple of other smart saves prevented Sheffield from making further inroads and that was also the case during a blank final session.
But Phantoms’ lead never came under serious threat as they continued their winning streak.
Koulikov’s men will have high hopes of further success with their next three games all against bottom-four opposition.
Two of those fixtures are this weekend as they entertain Bracknell on Saturday (November 30, 7pm) before going to London side Raiders on Sunday (December 1,
1.13 Susters ass: Stepanek
6.36 Pollard ass: Clarke/Gretton
15.13 Susters ass: Stepanek/McEwen
19.36 Susters ass: Stepanek/Long
37.15 Morgan ass: Salem/Brown
PHANTOMS – Martins Susters
SHEFFIELD – Nathan Salem