Peterborough Phantoms boosted their hopes of NIHL National Cup progress with a convincing home success last night (December 2).
The city men thumped Sheffield Steeldogs 6-1 in a must-win Group B showdown at Planet Ice.
Two goals in the opening four minutes – from Glenn Billing and Darius Pliskauskas – provided a perfect start for Phantoms. Their advantage was halved by Cam Brownley’s powerplay strike, but that effort proved to be the visitors’ only breakthrough of the night.
Phantoms soon asserted again as Nathan Salem slammed in a slap-shot, but the opening period was brought to an early conclusion with just over two minutes remaining when the same player was left bloodied by a puck to the face.
And while Salem played no further part due to needing hospital treatment for a chin wound, Phantoms doubled their goal tally in the remainder of the game.
Billing struck for the second time just 71 seconds into the second period and a smart Leigh Jamieson finish to a slick move followed later in that period. Captain James Ferrara completed the scoring in the final session.
Phantoms have now hopped back above the Steeldogs into second place in the three-team group.
They are two points behind leaders Hull (who have played a game less) and one point ahead of Sheffield (who have played two fewer matches).
Phantoms still have to entertain Hull and Sheffield again, and also travel to face the latter club a second time. The top two finishers both advance to the latter stages of the competition.
Koulikov’s men turn their attention back to an NIHL Division One South title challenge tonight (December 3) when away to London Raiders. It’s a 5.30pm start at Lee Valley.
Phantoms received a boost last night when title rivals Basingstoke saw their perfect league start ended. The Hampshire side had reeled off 10 consecutive wins before suffering a surprise 2-0 slip-up against Streatham.
2:25 Billing ass: Pliskauskas/J. Ferrara
3:35 Pliskauskas ass: J. Ferrara/R. Ferrara
16:11 Salem (PP) ass: Jamieson/Padelek
21:11 Billing ass: Pliskauskas/J. Ferrara
31:47 Jamieson ass: Weldon
46:13 J. Ferrara unassisted
11:40 Brownley (PP) ass: Charnock
Phantoms – James Ferrara
Sheffield – Ben Morgan