Peterborough Phantoms have learned their lesson ahead of cup ties
Head coach Slava Koulikov insists lessons were learned after Phantoms dropped a point in their opening NIHL Division One South game of the new season last weekend.
The city team were pipped 3-2 after a last-gasp goal – which arrived after the clock had reached zero in overtime - from London side Raiders at Planet Ice last Saturday.
They surrendered their lead late in regulation time after running into penalty trouble and then saw the contest settled in a controversial climax.
But Koulikov was delighted with the Phantoms’ response as they collected a first league win of the new campaign the following night by triumphing 3-1 at local rivals Milton Keynes Thunder.
Koulikov said: “A coach is never going to be pleased to see a game slip away that his team were leading, but it is early in the season and we will definitely learn from it.
“Things don’t go your way all of the time in any sport. We had a discussion to remind ourselves to focus on the things we can control rather than decisions which are out of our hands.
“We had to move on quickly from Saturday and it was important to get the win in Milton Keynes on Sunday.
“We put in a solid performance and we were able to control the game for at least two of the three periods against a team who were fresh after not playing the previous night.”
Phantoms now switch their attention back to the NIHL Autumn Cup with home (Saturday, 7pm) and away (Sunday, 5pm) clashes against Sheffield in which they will come up against arguably their star performer of last season.
Forward Nathan Salem earned a place in the NIHL Division One South all-star team when with the city club during the 2017/18 campaign and has already racked up 15 points in eight appearances for Steeldogs following a summer move.
Sheffield have reeled off four successive wins at the start of their NIHL Division One North title defence, but they’ve lost three of their four outings in the Autumn Cup. They were beaten home and away by Swindon last weekend and have also gone down to another South side, Basingstoke.
Phantoms launched their challenge in this competition with back-to-back wins against Telford and another good weekend would leave them in great shape to reach the semi-finals.
A total of six teams – Phantoms, Swindon and Basingstoke from the South; Hull, Sheffield and Telford from the North – are involved in the NIHL Autumn Cup and only face the sides from the other region in the group stage.
Koulikov added: “Sheffield are doing well in their Conference again and have added our best British player of last season.
They are a lot more disciplined than in the past, but they still have a lot of grit when it’s needed and they are definitely a good team.
“It will be nice to see Nathan again. He did a great job for us last season and we keep in touch.
“He has played well against us in the past and we have to be ware of the fact that he is capable of changing any game at this level at any moment.”