Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov dished out the plaudits for his players and the club’s supporters last night (October 14).
The city team completed a second successive four-point weekend when seeing off Streatham 3-2 in overtime in an NIHL Division One South clash at Planet Ice.
Glenn Billing struck the decisive blow on a night when Koulikov’s men were considerably more dominant than the scoreline might suggest as they stretched their winning streak to five games in all competitions.
A 49-21 shot-count in favour of Phantoms was a more accurate reflection of a contest in which the only mystery – and indeed disappointment – was that they failed to kill off the contest long before being pegged back late in the third period following a controversial incident in which forward Harry Ferguson was harshly thrown out.
“Huge respect to Streatham for the way they battled all night,” said Koulikov. “They have a lot of experience, a lot of good British guys and play smart hockey, but I felt we were the dominant team.
“We had so many opportunities to wrap the game up earlier than we did, but the main thing is getting the win.
“Huge credit goes to my guys for their hard work and effort and also to the crowd for their support.
“That was the loudest I have heard it in our rink for a long time and the fans definitely gave us the extra energy we needed.
“We have to be happy with a second four-point weekend in a row. I’m happy where we’re at right now after beating solid teams home and away.”
Only the post denied Will Weldon a short-handed opener before Streatham hit the front just past the mid-point of the opening period when Adam Wood got the telling touch to a powerplay shot from ex-Phantoms defenceman Ben Russell.
That remained the difference between the sides until Petr Stepanek hit a quick brace in the second period – not before Phantoms had seen two other ‘goals’ not given in that middle stanza.
Stepanek eventually levelled with a precise finish and soon completed the turnaround with a much more ferocious effort only a couple of seconds into a powerplay.
Those Phantoms goals sandwiched a fine save from netminder Jordan Marr to keep out Streatham man Alex Roberts as the visitors launched a dangerous breakaway.
Stepanek and fellow import Ales Padelek were both denied by King as Phantoms continued their dominance ahead of the unexpected twist late in the third period.
Ferguson was thrown out for cross-checking even though Streatham forward Andreas Siagris appeared to tumble by the boards without contact - and Phantoms’ misery was compounded only a few seconds into the five-minute penalty that followed as Adam Carr pounced to level, but Streatham rarely looked like making their numerical advantage count again.
In fact it was Stepanek who had the best chance to grab a late winner in regulation time, but he fired high and wide after stealing the puck when the city side were still short-handed.
Only the brilliance of Marr denied Carr a winner early in overtime, but Phantoms then claimed the extra point when Billing was perfectly placed to put away a fine James Ferrara pass.
Phantoms face the two teams currently sitting at opposite ends of the NIHL Division One South standings next weekend.
They head to table-toppers Bracknell on Saturday (October 26, 6pm) ahead of a home clash against rock-bottom Invicta the following night (October 27, 5.30pm).
31:23 Stepanek ass: McEwen/Ferguson
35:32 Stepanek (PP) ass: Weldon
61:12 Billing ass: J. Ferrara
10:25 Wood (PP) ass: Russell/Siagris
52:59 Carr (PP) ass: Farn/Jamieson
PHANTOMS - Glenn Billing
STREATHAM - Damien King