The Peterborough Phantoms hot streak now stands at eight games following a fine Saturday (October 27) showing.
The city team extended their winning run when overcoming an early hitch to see off Raiders 5-2 in NIHL Division One South last night at Planet Ice.
It was a sixth successive victory in the league following a controversial overtime slip up in their opening outing at the hands of the London side in their previous visit to Bretton last month.
Only for a few minutes were there any thoughts of another tough night as Raiders hit the front after 45 seconds, but Phantoms soon demonstrated the defensive solidity and increasing attacking quality which are fast turning them into title contenders.
The latest success lifted Koulikov’s side into second place in the standings. They trail table-toppers Bracknell by four points but boast four games in hand.
He said: “Of course we would have liked to start the game better, but the way we responded to that setback was very pleasing.
“We managed to get control of the game in the first period and we continued to win the battles for the rest of the night.
“Individually and collectively we did more than enough to win against a team who have given us problems in the past.
“We’re a little short-staffed at the minute after letting Harry Ferguson go as a couple of the younger guys have injuries, but we didn’t let that affect us.”
The contest was less than a minute old when Phantoms found themselves behind as Raiders man Jake Sylvester was left unattended at the back post to finish.
But the response from Phantoms was immediate and impressive as the wise old head of Ales Padelek and the fast feet and equally rapid hands of Corey McEwen conjured a turnaround.
Padelek pounced on dithering from Raiders netminder Michael Gray to level before firing the city side ahead with a fizzing shot into the top corner.
McEwen then got in on the act by collecting a Petr Stepanek pass and beating Gray with ease to complete a pleasing opening period.
Phantoms extended their lead in the middle session when Stepanek struck on a powerplay seconds after seeing another of his trademark thunderous shots kept out by Gray.
The Czech star also left his mark on a team mate when steering a puck into the ear of Will Weldon, who headed to the locker room for treatment before returning to the fray a few minutes later.
Phantoms were comfortable by that point and another powerplay rocket from Stepanek, which almost lifted the net off its moorings, further strengthened their position early in the third period.
McEwen thought he had scored again with a smart finish which appeared to hit the twine and fly back out, but the light didn’t come on and the officials allowed the game to continue.
There was no doubt a fiercely hit Dan Scott shot following a face-off found the net at the other end as Raiders claimed a consolation, but that was nothing more than a minor irritation towards the end of another thoroughly convincing Phantoms performance.
They’ll be expected to collect a ninth win in a row when travelling to rock-bottom Invicta - a team they thumped 13-1 last weekend - tonight (October 28, 5.15pm).
Forwards Jack Escott and Jarvis Hunt are carrying knocks after taking hits last weekend while Ferguson has been snapped up by Elite League side Milton Keynes following his sudden Phantoms departure.
6.57 Padelek ass: J. Ferrara
14.01 Padelek ass J. Ferrara
14.34 McEwen ass: Stepanek/White
35.06 Stepanek (PP) ass: McEwen
41.51 Stepanek (PP) ass: Weldon
0.45 Sylvester ass: Novak
55.32 Scott ass: Jackson
PHANTOMS - Petr Stepanek
RAIDERS - Michael Gray