Import ace Ales Padelek hit a hat-trick as Peterborough Phantoms tasted victory in their first home outing ahead of the new season.
The city side beat Basingstoke 6-5 at Planet Ice last night (September 3) in the second of two Billy Glover Memorial Challenge clashes between the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South rivals.
Phantoms were seen off 5-0 in Hampshire on Saturday, but Czech veteran Padelek needed only 27 seconds to open their account in the return fixture.
He also struck on a second-period powerplay and fired Phantoms’ final goal in an exciting climax which saw the sides trade four efforts in the closing four minutes.
Fellow import Darius Pliskauskas, new recruit Leigh Jamieson and long-serving Will Weldon were the other men to find the net – and head coach Slava Koulikov liked a lot of what he saw from his side.
“Myself and Shep (Basingstoke coach Doug Sheppard) spoke early in the summer and were keen to have pre-season games against each other,” said Koulikov.
“We knew both teams would get a really good workout and just as we expected, both games were played at a high speed with great intensity.
“We improved shift-by-shift, period-by-period throughout the weekend and that’s great to see.
“There has been definite progress in the last two days – both individually and as a team - and it is now a case of ensuring we continue to build on that going into the season.
The forward line featuring Padelek, Jamieson and Weldon was particularly impressing, while the trio of Pliskauskas, newcomer Nathan Salem and Welsh wizard Owen Griffiths was also threatening.
Phantoms will no doubt need to tighten up defensively after conceding five goals on successive nights.
They have two more challenge games to come against another side expected to challenge for NIHL Division One South honours, Swindon Wildcats, this weekend.
Phantoms travel to Wiltshire on Saturday (September 9) ahead of a return date at Planet Ice the following night
0:27 Padelek ass: Jamieson/Norton
22:10 Jamieson ass: Padelek/Weldon
33:17 Padelek (PP) ass: Billing/Weldon
49:07 Weldon (PP) ass: Padelek/Jamieson
56:11 Pliskauskas ass: Salem
58:08 Padelek ass: Weldon/R. Ferrara
12:41 Lackey ass: Smith
28:12 Reynolds ass: Wilson
47:07 Baird ass: Wilson/Connolly
57:40 Antonov ass: Cesky/Lackey
59:49 Rounding ass: Wilson