A second successive home defeat is no reason for panic according to Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov.
He saw his side slip up at Planet Ice for the second Saturday running when pipped 2-1 after penalties by Milton Keynes Thunder last night (November 11).
Visiting netminder Tom Annetts was a predicatble and worthy match-winner by saving two of the city side’s three efforts in the shoot-out.
He had also kept out all but one of the 70 shots unleashed on his target during the previous 65 minutes of hockey.
Annetts was particularly impressive during the third period when denying Phantoms on 25 occasions in the space of 20 minutes – that was more attempts on goal than Thunder managed in the entire game!
Arguably his best save of all came in five frantic minutes of three-on-three overtime when sprawling across his crease to deny Darius Pliskauskas.
Annetts then thwarted the penalty attempts of the Lithuanian international and Owen Griffiths as successful strikes from Harrison Goode and Ross Bowers sealed victory for the visitors.
“No team wants to lose twice in a row on their own ice, but it has happened,” admitted Koulikov. “I haven’t seen a team have 70 shots for a long time, but we only had one goal to show for it.
“Maybe their netminder was good, maybe we were not clinical enough, but the work-rate and desire to win the game were there. That is very important for me to see, but it just didn’t happen for us.
“The number of goals we have scored has dropped lately, but we have some very skilled forwards. We have nothing to panic about. If we were getting outworked and outplayed I would be concerned, but that’s not the case at all.”
The teams traded goals in the opening period. Rio Grinell-Parke gobbled up a rebound to put Thunder ahead before Glenn Billing replied when tipping in a Robbie Ferrara blast.
Phantoms did succeed in beating Annetts again towards the end of the second period, but Pliskauskas’ celebrations were cut short as referee Dan Boardman scrubbed out his goal due to the Thunder net being off its moorings.
Plenty more opportunities were carved out and kept out as Koulikov’s men had to settle for one point which keeps them in top spot.
Phantoms return to action tonight (November 12) with an NIHL National Cup test at Hull (7.30pm).
14:09 Billing ass: R. Ferrara
Milton Keynes Thunder
7:52 Grinell-Parke ass: Bowers
Phantoms – Owen Griffiths
Milton Keynes Thunder – Tom Annetts