Head coach Slava Koulikov insisted Peterborough Phantoms performed considerably better than the final scoreline suggests in their opening pre-season outing last night (September 2).
The city team were beaten 5-0 at National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South rivals Basingstoke in the first leg of the Billy Glover Memorial Challenge.
There was early drama in Hampshire with Bison man Ivan Antonov thrown out less than five minutes into the contest for a high-sticking offence that left James White bloodied.
Phantoms failed to make the five-minute powerplay which accompanied that offence count as they conceded two penalties of their own.
And, as Tom Norton sat the second of them after another high-stick incident, Basingstoke hit the front through captain Aaron Connolly.
The hosts’ other four goals all arrived in the middle session with one-time Phantoms import Jaroslav Cesky doubling the advantage before Grant Rounding extended it further.
Another powerplay effort, from Dan Scott, kept the lead growing before Stuart Petts pounced on a loose puck to complete the scoring.
Phantoms could find no way past Bison netminder Dean Skinns, who recorded a 27-shot shut-out.
“I don’t think the score necessarily reflected the game,” said Koulikov. “We played a lot better than 5-0 suggests, but results aren’t a major concern in pre-season.
“It is more about guys getting time on the ice and the fact we progressed as the game went on pleased me.
“Basingstoke outplayed us in the first period but that can happen there as they are so strong at home.
“We didn’t match their intensity and they were by far the better side. We were lucky not to concede more than one goal.
“The game was pretty even from then on with both teams having chances. They put some of theirs away and we didn’t – it’s as simple as that.
“We deserved a couple of goals at least, but they didn’t come. Hopefully we can correct a few things and look to kick on tonight on our ice.”
The Phantoms line-up included 16 year-old junior forwards Jack Escott and Taylor Romeo and they received several shifts.
They will feature again tonight (September 3) when Phantoms entertain Basingstoke at Planet Ice, 5.30pm.
10:15 Connolly (PP) ass: Sutton/Davies
21:08 Cesky ass: Connolly
28:49 Rounding ass: Karpov/Connolly
31:29 Scott (PP) ass: Davies
34:35 Petts unassisted
Basingstoke – Aaron Connolly
Phantoms – Scott Robson