Captain James Ferrara hit a hat-trick to lead Peterborough Phantoms to a four-point weekend.
he skipper led by example with all of the city side’s goals as they triumphed 3-2 against Raiders in Romford last night (November 25) – a valuable victory on two fronts.
The gutsy road win (in a feisty affair in which forwards Will Weldon and Martins Susters both dropped the gloves) followed up a smooth home success against basement side Invicta the previous evening and kept Phantoms well-placed in the title race. It also assured them of a top-two finish in the NIHL South Cup standings.
Ferrara tucked away an Ales Padelek pass to provide an early breakthrough, but Raiders replied through Filip Sedivy.
Parity proved to be short-lived as Ferrara restored Phantoms’ advantage with a delayed penalty strike less than 30 seconds later, but the hosts responded again through an Aaron Connolly powerplay goal early in the second period.
But it was Ferrara who settled the contest when completing his hat-trick during a numerical advantage for Phantoms just past the mid-point of the final period. They survived a late scare, as Raiders defenceman Dan Scott hit a post with 11 seconds to go, to pocket the points.
“It was a tough game against a good Raiders team who play a physical style of hockey,” said Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.
“We had to ensure we matched them in that department while also trying to play our way.
“We battled hard, Jimmy came up with the hat-trick and we managed to close the game out.
“Jimmy has been in great form this season and he led by example again last night for us.
“We’re delighted with a four-point weekend and we know we’re now guaranteed at least second place in the cup standings as well.”
Phantoms remain third in NIHL Division One South. They sit just three points behind leaders Swindon – who they face in Wiltshire this Saturday (December 1, 6.15pm) – but boast two games in hand.
Phantoms then entertain second-placed Bracknell at Planet Ice on Sunday (December 2, 5.30pm) during a crunch weekend.
Bracknell beat Swindon in overtime last night with what looks to be a three-horse title race taking shape.
11.18 Sedivy ass: J. Connolly
21.43 A. Connolly (PP) ass: Sedivy/Pitchley
2.02 J. Ferrara ass: Padelek
11.46 J. Ferrara (DP) ass: Billing/Padelek
51.20 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Padelek/Billing
RAIDERS – Michael Gray
PHANTOMS – James Ferrara