Peterborough Phantoms chief Slava Koulikov could not celebrate a contract extension with victory last night (November 19).
His side were beaten for just the second time in seven English Premier League games when going down 5-3 at Guildford.
That defeat came only hours after Phantoms revealed Koulikov has agreed a new deal to remain at the helm until the end of the 2018/19 season. His previous agreement was due to expire after next season.
Koulikov said: “We first spoke about an extension in the summer and my only concern was spending so much time away from my family.
“I’m now in a position where I have been able to bring them down from Hull to live in Peterborough and that is really important for me.
“It means I can devote more time to both my daughter and the club, and spend a hell of a lot less time on the road.
“I’m very happy at Phantoms. A lot of work has been put in behind the scenes by a lot of people – not just me – in recent years to make the club better and I still think we can make some more improvement.
“It would have been great to have got a win in Guildford to finish the day, but it wasn’t to be.”
Instead it was the Flames who emerged victorious from a showdown which carried significance on two fronts.
The sides were locked together at the end of the first and second periods, but two Flames strikes in the final session tipped the pendulum their way in a game that also counted towards the EPL Cup competition. Both these teams are battling for a semi-final spot.
A powerplay strike from Darius Pliskauskas made sure Phantoms hit the front little more than three minutes after the puck dropped in Surrey, but they soon found themselves behind after conceding twice in the space of just 39 seconds to Ben Campbell and David Savage.
A short-handed Wehebe Darge effort ensured the opening stanza ended in deadlock and there was no splitting the sides in the middle chunk either.
They traded late goals in that period with Tom Duggan giving Guildford an advantage that lasted for 88 seconds until Marc Levers levelled for a Phantoms side featuring teenage defenceman Tom Stubley for the first time in more than a month following a shoulder injury.
But Phantoms couldn’t respond when the home side edged ahead again in the final instalment through Savage’s second goal of the night and a Marek Maslonka effort clinched an important success on two fronts for the Flames.
Koulikov added: “We went to Guildford with a plan and executed it well for the vast majority of the night.
“The fourth goal was the key moment as it meant we had to go and chase a game in which he had set out to play pretty defensively.
“We started to dominate possession and create a few chances, but Guildford scored again and we couldn’t come back from that.”
Phantoms remain fifth in the league standings ahead of a home date with Hull tonight (November 20, 5.30pm). The Pirates lost their unbeaten home record when being thumped 7-3 by troubled table-toppers Telford last night.
5:27 Campbell ass: Eriksson
6:06 Savage ass: Santavuori/Lundin
38:14 Duggan ass: Campbell/Santavuori
43:39 Savage ass: Santavuori/Maslonka
50:03 Maslonka ass: Lundin/Duggan
3:19 Pliskauskas PP) ass: Norton/Levers
12:12 Darge (SH) unassisted
39:42 Levers ass: J. Ferrara/Pliskauskas
GUILDFORD – David Savage
PHANTOMS – Scott Robson