Two defeats in two different competitions in two days – it’s safe to say it hasn’t been the best weekend for Peterborough Phantoms.
The city team were beaten 2-1 by Hull Pirates last night (November 12) in their latest NIHL National Cup Group B assignment.
It was the second time this season Phantoms have slipped up in Humberside after a 6-3 loss there back in September.
The latest defeat followed what is becoming an increasingly familiar script as they struggled to find a way past a netminder in fine form.
Debutant Hull goalie Sam Gospel, drafted in for the game from Elite League table-toppers Nottingham Panthers, proved to be the latest formidable last line of defence to foil Phantoms.
He joined a list including London Raiders man Euan King and Milton Keynes Thunder ace Tom Annetts, who have helped their respective sides record league wins over Phantoms on the last two Saturdays.
Conceding early goals is also becoming a regular feature and Phantoms fell behind to a Lee Bonner goal after 67 seconds in Hull.
Their deficit doubled later in the first period when Cain Taylor pounced after the puck squirmed free from the glove of netminder Adam Long as he attempted to freeze it.
Phantoms had to wait until early in the final period to beat Gospel as Will Weldon struck on the five-minute powerplay which followed the ejection of Pirates player Jordan Fisher for fighting. He attacked Phantoms captain James Ferrara as the buzzer sounded at the end of the middle session.
Despite twice pulling Long during a frantic finish, Phantoms could not haul themselves back onto level terms to earn the point that assistant coach Jason Buckman felt they merited.
Buckman said: “We didn’t play too badly and personally I think we should have come away with at least a point.
“Unfortunately we ran into an Elite League level goalie and it could have been a different story if Hull had been using their regular netminder.
“Gospel played really well and having him around gave them a boost, but that wasn’t the sole reason we lost the game.
“We’re having a bit of trouble finding goals currently after scoring freely earlier in the season, and that’s something we’re working to address.
“The bigger picture is we’re far from out of the cup. We’ll need to beat Hull at home and we have already proved we can do that.”
Phantoms were without player-coach Tom Norton for around half of the game last night after he picked up a wrist problem.
They already have fellow defenceman Greg Pick and forward James White out with groin injuries.
Phantoms have two tough tests ahead this weekend. They entertain Basingstoke in an NIHL Autumn Cup clash on Saturday (November 18, 7pm) before heading to Bracknell for a top-of-the-table NIHL Division One South clash the following night (November 19, 6pm).
1:07 Bonner ass: Haywood/Towner
14:28 Taylor ass: Chilcott
43:54 Weldon (PP) ass: Jamieson/Pliskauskas
Hull – Sam Gospel
Phantoms – Leigh Jamieson