Peterborough Phantoms breezed back to the NIHL Division One South summit last night (January 12).
The city side outclassed depleted opponents Milton Keynes Thunder in a dominant 5-0 success at Planet Ice.
In-form import Ales Padelek produced a power-packed breakthrough before also providing a delightful pass in the build-up to a second goal for Glenn Billing as Phantoms took control in the opening session.
A short-handed strike from captain James Ferrara extended the advantage early in the third period and the only surprise was they had to wait until the closing stages to find the twine again.
But efforts from Petr Stepanek and Martins Susters gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection and the smooth victory came complete with a shut-out for Phantoms netminder Jordan Marr.
He dealt with all 21 of the on-target attempts from second-bottom and short-benched Thunder.
“The guys delivered the result and put us into the position where we want to be,” said assistant coach Jason Buckman, who took charge of Phantoms with head coach Slava Koulikov away on World Championship duty with the Great Britain Under 20 side.
“We knew Milton Keynes would work non-stop all night despite being without a few players including their first-choice netminder.
“We had to match that work ethic and get the job done to win the game.
“It probably wasn’t the most polished performance we’ve ever produced, but it’s tough to be negative after a 5-0 win.”
Phantoms are now a point clear of title rivals Swindon, who were without a fixture last night. They also boast three games in hand on the Wiltshire side.
Phantoms will be hot favourites to complete a four-point weekend when travelling to Milton Keynes for a return clash against Thunder tonight (January 13, 6.45pm).
7.31 Padelek ass: J. Ferrara
12.13 Billing ass: J. Ferrara/Padelek
21.36 J. Ferrara (SH) ass: Billing
52.09 Stepanek ass: Robson/Susters
54.32 Susters ass: Stepanek/McEwen
PHANTOMS – Glenn Billing
MILTON KEYNES THUNDER – Alex Whyte