Peterborough Phantoms delivered a near-perfect away performance tonight (February 18).
The city team were comfortable 6-2 winners at Bracknell in their latest NIHL Division One South assignment, earning a four-point weekend, reeling off a fourth successive triumph and completing a full set of four victories against the Bees this term in the process.
Phantoms were pushed to limit when pipping the same opponents on penalties at Planet Ice eight days earlier, but they encountered no such resistance in the return clash. That was thanks to a combination of their own excellence as six different players found the net, and also their hosts’ lack of discipline.
Head coach Slava Koulikov said: “I could not have asked for any more from the guys.
“We were a bit slow to get going in the first few minutes and allowed Bracknell to get a couple of late goals, but otherwise we controlled the game. There were a lot of good things and it was really enjoyable to watch.
“Bracknell are a dangerous team with a strong roster so to beat them in all four games this season is very pleasing.
“The guys know what is required every time they hit the ice and we’re picking up the results we need.”
The foundations for victory were laid in the opening period when Will Weldon tipped in a Tom Norton blast to give Phantoms a lead which was extended by two goals little more than a minute apart. Owen Griffiths finished classily to double the cushion before Leigh Jamieson buried a smart Nathan Salem pass just 64 seconds later.
Those strikes left Phantoms in complete control and the lead could easily have been greater. Import Ales Padelek, who missed the home victory against MK Thunder 24 hours earlier with a slight groin problem, failed to take two excellent opportunities.
Phantoms continued to carve out chances at a regular rate in the second period when grabbing two further goals as Bracknell reached for the self-destruct button.
Norton fired in a fierce powerplay effort during a spell of five-on-three and Nathan Salem ensured they capitalised on another numerical advantage when netting via a deflection off the back of Bees netminder Alex Mettam.
That latter goal arrived only seconds after the hosts’ player-coach Scott Spearing was dismissed on a five-plus-game penalty for a check to the head that floored Nathan Pollard, who was thankfully able to resume following a spell of treatment.
The familiar pattern of play also continued into the final session as Phantoms looked dangerous while the Bees appeared to be bamboozled.
Norton was only denied his second goal of the night by a post before Glenn Billing became the sixth different Phantoms player to find the twine as they remain level with title rivals Basingstoke, who won at London Raiders last night.
There was minor disappointment as netminder Euan King saw his hopes of a shut-out dashed by two Bees goals in the closing stages. Import defenceman Jan Bendik and captain Matt Foord both struck for the hosts, but it was way too little, far too late to affect the overall outcome.
Koulikov rested Padelek and defenceman Scott Robson after the second period - a precautionary measure as they nurse niggles. Griffiths also returned to the locker room during the final session after receiving a bad hit by boards, but he is not thought to have suffered any lasting damage.
Phantoms’ only outing of next weekend is a Saturday (February 24) trip to London Raiders.
57:28 Bendik ass: Ingoldsby
58:40 Foord ass: Bakrlik/Martin
4:54 Weldon ass: Norton/Jamieson
14:00 Griffiths ass: Pliskauskas/J. Ferrara
15:04 Jamieson ass: Salem/Weldon
34:54 Norton (PP) ass: Padelek/Weldon
38:24 Salem (PP) unassisted
44:46 Billing ass: Romeo
Bracknell - Carl Thompson
Phantoms - Will Weldon