The National League leaders from Telford will be gunning for revenge after Phantoms delivered a sound beating in an away fixture earlier this month. The Tigers licked their wounds to record back-to-back wins against fellow high fliers Swindon last weekend to return to pole position.
Phantoms experienced a mixed weekend as a decent display at an excellent Mk Lightning side went unrewarded as the hosts sneaked a 3-2 win before Basingstoke Bison were beaten 6-3 at Planet Ice.
“I thought we played well on both nights despite only picking up two points,” Koulikov said. “The Milton Keynes roster is stacked full of quality and they’ve just added an ex-NHLer to their team so it was always going to be a really tough game. But I thought we played really well. The compete level was good and we defended well when we came under pressure. We hit the post just before they scored their winner and that shows it really could have gone either way.
“Against Basingstoke it was another battling performance. I always say we know what we’re going to get from Basingstoke as they don’t give up and they play hard until the final buzzer no matter what the score is and that was what they did. But we set out a gameplan and executed it really well for the most part, and it was great to see Petr (Stepanek) get his first goal since he returned to the club.
“On Friday we’ve got another game against Telford. We had a really good win against them away from home a couple of weeks ago, but we know they’re going to want to set the record straight on Friday. They’ve got a couple of their top end guys back and I’m sure they’ll come out and make the game another battle.
“As always, we’ll have a plan. We’ll prepare properly at practice and we’ll make sure we’re ready to compete hard for the full 60 minutes .
“Then on Saturday we go to Slough to take on the Bees. We know they’ve just come off a four-point weekend so they’ll be looking to continue that to put a stretch of wins together.
“It’s important that we focus on Friday first, then turn our attention to Saturday to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be for both games. If we play hard and stick to the game plan we set out, we’ll have a chance of winning both games.”