Peterborough Phantoms did all they could to maintain their English Premier League play-offs challenge last night (March 29) - but a key result elsewhere went against them.
The city side eased to a 6-2 away success against Sheffield Steeldogs to clinch their second Group A victory. They hammered the same opponents 12-0 the previous Wednesday before suffering a blank weekend.
But events almost 200 miles south didn’t go Phantoms’ way last night as Telford triumphed in overtime at group leaders Guildford.
That dramatic win keeps the Tigers two points ahead of the city men with two Group A games to go and only the top two teams qualifying for the finals weekend.
Phantoms now host Telford at Planet Ice this Saturday (April 1, 7pm) before completing their fixtures in Guildford the following night (April 2, 6pm).
Realistically they will need to win both of those games and hope that the Tigers or Flames also slip up against pointless Sheffield, but coach Slava Koulikov insists the performances and results of Phantoms are his sole focus.
He said: “We knew we had to win last night and we did that.
“I said we need four victoriess before the play-offs started. We have two now and still have two games to go.
“The focus is now on beating Telford and thanking the fans for supporting us all season by entertaining them and getting the right result.
“If we manage that, we’ll go to Guildford looking for two points on Sunday.
“There are many possible scenarios and things are changing with every game played.
“What happens in other games and in other buildings is out of our control.”
Phantoms fell behind to an early Arnoldas Bosas goal, but they turned the contest thanks to two goals in less than two minutes.
Captain James Ferrara levelled before Will Weldon fired them ahead, but parity was briefly restored by Donatas Kumeliauskas – a star man for Phantoms when they captured the play-off crown a couple of years ago – early in the second period.
That leveller sparked a pleasing response with another quick double-salvo putting Phantoms in command.
Edgars Bebris restored the advantage against one of his former clubs before assisting on a rare Scott Robson goal.
And Phantoms made sure of victory with two more goals in the final session as imports Darius Pliskauskas and Petr Stepanek added their names to the scoresheet.
Koulikov added: “Sheffield wanted to pick up a win at home whereas we had to go there and get the two points.
“It was a battle for all 60 minutes in every zone. We improved as the game went on and that was good to see.”
4:07 Bosas ass: Shudra
21:43 Kumeliauskas (DP) ass: Calvert/Heywood
8:35 J. Ferrara ass: Pliskauskas
10:12 Weldon ass: Archer/Stepanek
26:46 Bebris ass: Padelek/Levers
29:18 Robson ass: Bebris
41:19 Pliskauskas ass: Darge/Griffiths
56:23 Stepanek ass: Weldon/Archer
SHEFFIELD – Ash Calvert
PHANTOMS – Janis Auzins