Phantoms will still stick to the script as they go looking for a feast of goals in finale

Phantoms will not change their approach as they chase a stack of goals in an exciting conclusion to the NIHL Division One South title race.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 2:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th March 2018, 3:24 pm
Phantoms celebrate a goal against Basingstoke last Sunday.

The city side entertain Streatham at Planet Ice this Saturday (7pm) in their final league fixture knowing an eighth successive victory is a must.

They go into battle with a better goal difference than title rivals Basingstoke, but that could come under threat as the Bison’s two remaining games this weekend are against the worst two teams in the section - second-bottom Invicta and rock-bottom Cardiff Fire.

However, head coach Slava Koulikov insists his men must stick to the script and resist the temptation to go gung-ho.

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“It’s only natural to think about scoring lots of goals,” said Koulikov. “But we cannot get distracted by that.

“We still need to play our hockey in the right way and if we do that the goals will come. Our approach to this game will be the same as any other.

“The guys have won seven games in a row at a stage of the season when the pressure is high.

“We now need to take that run to eight and it would really help if the fans could fill the building in the way they did against Basingstoke.

“They were so loud from the warm-up to the final buzzer and their backing was huge for us.

“I can assure them that we will not give up. We will play for 60 minutes and we hope they are behind us.”

Koulikov was full of praise for the performance of his players when beating Basingstoke last Sunday thanks to a pair of powerplay goals from Glenn Billing and a Nathan Salem strike.

And while Bison’s late reply from captain Aaron Connolly denied Phantoms an advantage in the title race, Koulikov was still a happy man.

He added: “We knew we had to beat our rivals for the title and we did that.

“Basingstoke had a couple of guys missing, but they also came here fresh whereas we had a tough game the previous night which went to overtime and took a lot out of us.

“We also have three or four guys playing through injuries and others suffering from the flu, but they all showed they are true warriors.

“We always want everything to be perfect, but that doesn’t always happen in sport.

“The worst outcome would have been losing and basically being out of the title race, whereas the best outcome would have been winning by two clear goals.

“Neither of those things happened and nothing has really changed. Ourselves and Basingstoke must fight on to the end.