Peterborough Phantoms coach full of praise for players and fans after heroic effort to reach the play-offs

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov was full of praise for his side even though they suffered an agonising defeat in their National League play-off semi-final.

By Tom Lea
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:00 am
Phantoms skipper Will Weldon is on the floor trying to stop an MK shot. Jordan Marr is the Phantoms' netminder. Photo: Darrill Stoddart.
Phantoms skipper Will Weldon is on the floor trying to stop an MK shot. Jordan Marr is the Phantoms' netminder. Photo: Darrill Stoddart.

The city side led fancied MK Lightning 4-1 after 18 minutes, but eventually lost 6-5 after a magnificent match in Coventry.

The winning goal six minutes from time arrived after a controversial refereeing call, but Koulikov wasn’t going to let that affect his post-season summary.

Phantoms lost their first six National League games before eventually claiming a sixth place finish with a better than 50% win record despite a crippling injury list.

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“ I want to thank every single one of my players for the fantastic effort they put in to help us reach this stage,” Koulikov said.

"Saturday’s game was two good teams playing a good hockey game and unfortunately we came out on the wrong side of the result.

“I don’t want to talk about the penalty which led to the winning goal, I want to focus on the compete level my guys showed against the strongest roster in the league and the levels the guys have shown since January. We’ve been preparing since then to reach finals weekend and the guys have been unbelievable in getting us there.

“I’d also like to thank our fans, off-ice staff and volunteers for the work they’ve put into the season. Generating interest and preparing for a season after such a long break was always going to be difficult, but we have a brilliant team and fan base and I’m grateful for everyone who’s put anything in to help our cause over the course of the year.

“We’ve still got Will Weldon’s testimonial and our awards night to look forward to, and preparations for next season will be ongoing throughout the summer. I hope our fans all have a brilliant summer and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again in September!”

Captain Weldon’s testimonial match to celebrate 10 years loyal service will take place at Planet Ice on Saturday May 28 (5.30pm face off) when many Phantoms past and present will take to the ice to help a popular player celebrate.

There are several fund-raising ideas currently running on the club webiste at www.gophantoms.co.uk where ticket information can also be found.

Three Phantoms are celebrating individual National Ice Hockey League awards.

Defenceman Callum Buglass was honoured to be named in the all-star team voted for by fans. He was picked alongside Sam Gospel (Leeds), Ed Bradley (Bees), Kieran Brown (Leeds ), Jason Hewitt (Sheffield) and Aaron Nell (Swindon). Buglass was an ever-present scoring six goals and claiming 20 assists. He picked up only four minutes of penalties.

And Phantoms defenceman Tom Norton and forward Glenn Billing were voted into the back-up all star team. Norton played in all 48 Phantoms matches with 14 goals and 27 assists. Billing was the club’s top scorer 23 goals and 40 assists.

Phantoms host their own awards night at the Holiday Inn West on Saturday, May 21. Ticket and voting details are on the club website.

Lee Thomas has been added to the Phantoms senior management team. He has a strong commercial background.