Phantoms followed a harsh 6-0 National Autumn Cup defeat at Basingstoke Bison on Saturday with a 4-1 home succes over MK Lightning in the same competition 24 hours later.
And it’s a cup double header again this weekend with Phantoms hosting the Bracknell Bees on Saturday (September 25, 7pm) and then travelling to the London Raiders on Sunday.
“Losing 6-0 sounds really bad,” Koulikov admitted. “But it wasn’t really a 6-0 game. The goals came in bunches during mental lapses, most of them in the second period.
“We had an even first period and we had a five on three power play at 0-0 and if we scored from that and got into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead it could’ve been a different game.
“But a second period mental lapse cost us the game. We came out sluggish, made six or seven turnovers which they capitalised on with two goals.
“We regrouped in the third period and started it well, but once they got the fourth goal, time was against us and 6-0 is obviously a disappointing result, but cultivating a positive reaction was really important.
“We wanted to see traction from the players. We had a good meeting and spoke about the details we needed to improve.
“It’s still early and we haven’t had many practices yet, but Sunday was much better and encouraging for the future. For the first time this season we really saw guys doing their jobs consistently from a tactical point of view and it showed in the result.
“The guys really upped their compete level and played a more complete 60 minute game and I was really pleased with our performance and with the win.
“We have a tough weekend coming up again though.
“The Bees philosophy is to have a relentless work ethic and we have to make sure we match their intensity and work rate to have a chance of a positive result against them.
“They’ve got a lot of new faces on their team this year so it’ll be interesting to see how they shape up.
“For us it’s important to take the positives from last weekend and continue to implement them into our game more consistently to give us the best possible chance of winning each game.
“Raiders are another team we’re playing for the first time this year. They’ve kept the core of their roster the same and we know they go hard at home. They’re hard to beat on their own ice and our compete level has to be 110%. If we match that it’ll come down to details to get the positive result on the road we want.”
Neither Bees nor the Raiders have picked up a win in the Autumn Cup so far.
Bees have lost two out of two with the Raiders picking up a draw and a defeat in their two matches. Bees have conceded 11 goals in defeats to Leeds and Swindon
Basingstoke are the only team to have won both matches in Phantoms’ section of the competition. They also scored six in a win at Telford 24 hours after beating Phantoms.