Peterborough Phantoms win yet another high-scoring home game to complete a magnficent seven wins in a row
High-scoring Peterborough Phantoms continued their hot streak in another Planet Ice thriller last night (February 2).
The city team stretched their winning run to seven games with a terrific 7-6 triumph against title-chasing Swindon in the NIHL National Division.
The Bretton rink is clearly the place for excitement with this 13-goal fest arriving only 48 hours after Phantoms brushed aside Hull 8-6 to secure an NIHL National Cup final spot.
Brothers Nathan and Conor Pollard both struck twice as Slava Koulikov’s men put a major dent in the second-placed Wildcats’ title aspirations while also maintaining their own faint hopes of a late push for the crown.
“The guys have been absolutely unbelievable to put such a good run of results together,” said Koulikov.
“They have adjusted to many situations and had to play different types of hockey to win seven games in a row.
“Last season our success was based on having three lines who were all capable of performing well and coming up with big goals, and that’s happening again now.
“We knew we would have to score five or six goals against Hull in the semi-final on Friday and we ended up getting eight.
“We decided to stick with that winning formula against Swindon and it worked for us again.
“You can be an offensive team, but you will lose games if you don’t know how to do the defensive job as well.
“We showed we can do that when the going got tough. Guys put bodies on the line to block shots against a team who were desperate for the two points as they are chasing the title.
“I’m always the first person to criticise my players when it is needed, but I am also the first to praise them and tell them how proud I am when they are doing the job so well.”
Phantoms produced a rip-roaring start as Ales Padelek fired them ahead after just 13 seconds and defenceman Callum Buglass doubled the lead when ghosting to the back door to finish.
But the Wildcats weren’t about to roll over and Floyd Taylor blasted past Ryan Bainborough – again called on to replace the absent Jordan Marr - to halve the deficit seconds later.
And the sides then exchanged further goals in the final minute of the opening session when Nathan Pollard’s brilliant breakaway effort for Phantoms was swiftly followed by a Tyler Plews reply.
And it was the Wildcats who began the second period in menacing mood with two goals in the space of 90 seconds completing a turnaround that saw them hit the front for the first – and only – time.
Chris Jones pounced on a rebound from point-blank range before Plews bagged his second of the night from the blue line.
But that Swindon double-salvo was followed by one of their own from Phantoms struck in 30 seconds.
Conor Pollard levelled with a smart strike at the near post before Glenn Billing ensured an exquisite James Ferrara pass was given an expert finish.
Ben Nethersell then floated a shot over the shoulder of Bainborough to bring Swindon level before Phantoms edged back in front when Conor Pollard finished after being picked out by a fine behind-the-net pass from Martins Susters in a powerplay.
Sibling Nathan then followed suit by completing his brace with a powerful blast early in the final session.
Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell then broke away to score and reduce his side’s arrears to a single goal, but they couldn’t light the lamp again with Phantoms standing firm in a grandstand finale.
Their success meant they closed to within four points of Swindon in the standings. The third-placed city men are now 10 points behind table-topping Telford who were also beaten (4-2 by Sheffield) last night.
Phantoms return to action on Saturday (February 8) with a home date against Bracknell, 7pm.
0.13 Padelek unassisted
5.11 Buglass ass: Billing/Padelek
19.21 N. Pollard ass: Weldon
28.04 C. Pollard ass: Norton/Hazeldine
28.34 Billing ass: J. Ferrara/Padelek
37.02 C. Pollard (PP) ass: Susters/McEwen
42.21 N. Pollard ass: C. Pollard
5.48 F. Taylor ass: Johnson
19.32 Plews ass: Malasinski/Nell
23.31 Jones ass: Plews/Bebris
25.01 Plews ass: Bullas/Nell
33.25 Nethersell ass: VanKleef/Godfrey
50.40 Nell (DP) ass: Liddiard
PHANTOMS – Nathan Pollard
SWINDON – Floyd Taylor