Head coach Slava Koulikov saluted a ‘pure performance’ from Peterborough Phantoms as they pulled five points clear at the top of NIHL Division One South.
Darius Pliskauskas converted the decisive penalty as the city men triumphed 3-2 at Invicta following a shoot-out last night (November 26). Netminder Euan King saved all three of the hosts’ efforts.
Even though Phantoms were behind for much of a contest which went the distance – and the outcome was considerably less emphatic than when Phantoms triumphed 5-1 at the same venue earlier in the season – Koulikov was quick to dish out the plaudits for his men.
“That’s the first time in a long time that I have seen my team play exactly in the way I want them to,” said Koulikov. “We won every battle and fought for everything from the first minute until the last penalty shot.
“We hit the posts, we hit the crossbar and we came up against a netminder playing very well, but we produced a pure performance.
“Last time we won 5-1 in Invicta when we wrapped the game up in a 10-minute spell. Last night it was a much more complete performance all round and it would have been a huge disappointment if we hadn’t come away with the two points.
“The score does not always reflect how well a team plays. We won 7-1 in Streatham earlier this season and looked like a horrible hockey team.
“We won this game 3-2 and anyone who saw us play last night got value for money.”
New Invicta signing Jaroslav Cesky – a former Phantoms player – put the hosts ahead before Glenn Billing levelled late in the opening period.
The Kent side were back in front less than three minutes into the second session and that’s the way it stayed until Pliskauskas levelled deep into the final period.
And the Lithuanian international then settled the shoot-out as well after Owen Griffiths had missed with Phantoms’ first attempt.
Invicta men Callum Fowler, Jaroslaw Cesky and Ashley Jackson were all thwarted by King on a night when his younger brother, Damien, also impressed as netminder for the home side.
Phantoms are back on the road in NIHL Division One South this Sunday (December 3) when they go to London Raiders (5.30pm). The capital side ended their perfect start to the league season in early November.
Before then, Phantoms entertain Sheffield in a must-win NIHL National Cup clash on Saturday (December 2) at Planet Ice (7pm).
The city side slipped to the bottom of Group B after going down 6-3 in Sheffield last Saturday (November 25).
6.31 Cesky ass: Ralph
22.48 Bailey ass: Fowler/Strawson
17.40 Billing ass: Robson
53.26 Pliskauskas ass: Jamieson/Ferrara