Peterborough Phantoms passed their toughest NIHL Division One South test yet last night (October 14) to extend their perfect start to the campaign.
A sixth successive league victory was earned the hard way as they came from behind to see off Invicta Dynamos 5-2 at Planet Ice.
And head coach Slava Koulikov was left seriously impressed - not just by a fine show of character from his men, but also the high standard of their most difficult assignment to date.
“It was a great game played at a surprisingly high tempo,” said Koulikov.
“It was good for the guys and the coaching staff to be involved in a game as tough as this and we showed plenty of character to come out of it with the points.
“Ourselves and Invicta produced an excellent level of hockey and we had to come back fighting after being behind.
“We performed really well in my opinion. The goaltending was good, the defencemen did their job and moved the puck, and we looked dangerous despite having to come from behind.”
The Kent side grabbed the only goal of the opening period when Josh Condren struck unassisted on a powerplay and their advantage doubled when Ondrej Zosiak broke away to put a simple finish on a plate for Brandon Webster just over seven minutes into the middle session.
One-time Phantoms netminder Damien King regularly thwarted his old club, but his resistance was finally broken by Darius Pliskauskas as the mid-point of the game loomed large.
The Lithuanian international provided a lifetime that was soon followed by a leveller as the excellent Leigh Jamieson and Nathan Salem carved out a slick goal for James Ferrara during a few seconds of five-on-three powerplay.
And Phantoms made the most of another numerical advantage to hit the front for the first time with 12 seconds left on the clock in the second period.
Jamieson was the man to provide the finishing touch to complete a terrific turnaround in little more than 10 minutes.
But Phantoms had to wait until the closing stages to confirm their latest triumph. A fine Jamieson pass was given a cool finish by Will Weldon before Pliskauskas struck again inside the final minute.
Phantoms were without ill import Ales Padelek, who will also miss their trip to Streatham tonight (October 15, 6.45pm).
And Koulikov has warned his men to expected another tough test in South London when victory would carry them three points clear at the NIHL Division One South summit.
“Streatham showed at our rink a few weeks ago that they are a well-organised and well coached team,” added Koulikov. “It was a one-goal game for quite a while before we went on to win it 5-2.”
29:23 Pliskauskas ass: Pick
33:59 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Salem/Jamieson
39:48 Jamieson (PP) ass: Plislkauskas/Griffiths
54:39 Weldon ass: Jamieson/Salem
59:05 Pliskauskas ass: Norton
10:59 Condren (PP) unassisted
27:05 B. Webster ass: Zosiak
Phantoms - Leigh Jamieson
Invicta - Damien King