New recruit Euan King enjoyed a terrific Peterborough Phantoms return when starring in a penalty shoot-out success last night (November 18).
The netminder, who was snapped up from NIHL Division One South rivals London Raiders d last week, saved all three Basingstoke penalties as the city side snatched a 4-3 victory in their latest NIHL Autumn Cup outing at Planet Ice.
And while both teams were already assured of progress into the semi-finals, it still ranked as a pleasing success for Phantoms as they recovered from a two-goal deficit to triumph and move clear at the top of the Group 1 standings.
“We played well in the first period, but we then slipped up in the second period when we were second best in all truth,” said coach Slava Koulikov. “But we came back strongly in the third period when scoring early and building momentum before deservedly getting level.
“We lost our last two home games and it looked for a while like this game might be a third defeat, but the guys showed huge character to turn it around against a hard-working and high-quality team.
“They didn’t give up despite things not always going their way and were rewarded with the win on penalties in the end.
“It always takes time for a new goalie to settle in and Euan did very well all night. He was a huge part of the win by saving all three penalties.”
Phantoms briefly led early on thanks to a powerplay blast from Darius Pliskauskas, but that was soon cancelled out by Grant Rounding.
And visitors Basingstoke then moved into the driving seat courtesy of two goals in the middle session. Aaron Connolly made the most of a five-on-three situation to fire them ahead before import Roman Malinik stretched the advantage.
Ales Padelek halved the arrears with a powerplay goal in the opening minute of the final session and Phantoms, who were comprehensively out-shot by their visitors, eventually levelled with only 82 seconds of regulation time remaining thanks to a Leigh Jamieson effort.
Neither side could find the net again in five minutes of overtime – and King ensured that was still the case for Basingstoke in the shoot-out by denying Connolly, Dan Davies and Malinik.
Phantoms men Padelek and Pliskauskas were also thwarted but Owen Griffiths came up trumps with their third attempt.
Phantoms return to NIHL Division One South action today (November 19) in a top-of-the-table clash at second-placed Bracknell (6pm).
The city side lead the Bees, who slumped to a surprise 5-1 league defeat at Invicta last night, by one point.
“We’ve dropped three league points in the last couple of weeks,” added Koulikov. “But it is a clean slate in Bracknell and it will be a huge battle.”
Bracknell are without star import Frantisek Bakrlik due to suspension.
4:41 Pliskauskas (PP) ass: Norton/J. Ferrara
40:40 Padelek (PP) ass: Jamieson/Robson
58:38 Jamieson ass: Weldon/J. Ferrara
8:37 Rounding ass: Reynolds
20:39 Connolly ass: Antonov
32:39 Malinik ass: Connolly/Antonov
Phantoms – Nathan Salem
Basingstoke – Dean Skinns