Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov was delighted with everything except the result last night (October 15).
The city side were beaten 3-1 by reigning champions Basingstoke in an English Premier League clash – an outcome which means they have won just one of their last six games.
But Koulikov was left hugely encouraged by the performance and desire of his weakened side in Hampshire as they pushed an improving Bison outfit to the limit.
“When we won in Basingstoke last month, their coach was quoted as saying that the best team lost the game,” said Koulikov.
“After last night’s game, I can make exactly the same comment. The better team was beaten again and this time it was ourselves.
“I was very pleased with what my guys produced and the only thing that didn’t make me happy was the scoreline.”
Phantoms hit the ice without four injured players – netminder Janis Auzins, defenceman Craig Wallis and forward pair Sam Towner and Connor Glossop – but they were more than a match for the hosts for the majority of the contest.
Goals from Basingstoke either side of the first break put them on top. Both were scored by recent import recruit Derek Roehl.
The American struck with just under 90 seconds of the opening session to go and followed up with a powerplay effort with just under three minutes into the middle stanza.
Phantoms responded impressively as Ales Padelek halved their deficit and that was the way it stayed until Matt Towalski hit a clincher on a breakaway for Bison with the 76 seconds left on the clock.
“It was a good game,” added Koulikov. “It was level for most of the first period and then there was only one goal in it for more the half of the game.
“Both teams had chances and it was Basingstoke who got the third goal in the end. It just wasn’t meant to be our night.”
And things are not about to get any easier for Phantoms tonight (October 16).
They entertain a Swindon side, who have won six of their last seven games and lost the other in overtime, at Planet Ice (5.30pm).
18:34 Roehl ass: Jarolin/Antonov
22:52 Roehl (PP) ass: Jarolin/Thompson
58:44 Towalski ass: Jarolin/Balmer
26:06 Padelek ass: Archer/Pliskauskas
BASINGSTOKE – Derek Roehl
PHANTOMS – James Ferrara