Head coach Slava Koulikov spoke of his pride after Peterborough Phantoms reached a second cup final of the season.
The city side, who have already lifted the NIHL Autumn Cup this term, triumphed 3-2 at Bracknell in the re-arranged second leg of their NIHL South Cup semi-final last night (February 20).
Phantoms were victorious 9-5 on aggregate after previously winning 6-3 in the first leg – and they will now meet Basingstoke in a battle for the silverware.
Martins Susters provided the only goal of the opening period of the second leg at The Hive before Bracknell hit back early in the second session.
Zack Milton then completed a turnaround on the night before Phantoms import Ales Padelek earned and missed a penalty shot soon after his side fell behind.
But two powerplay goals in the final period ensured Phantoms took the verdict on the night as well as overall.
James White levelled less than two minutes after the action resumed to end any faint hopes of a Bracknell fightback, and Corey McEwen hit the winner with seven-and-a-half minutes to go.
“We knew Bracknell would throw everything at us,” said Koulikov.
“We didn’t play as well as I hoped in the first period even though we came in ahead.
“But for most of the second and third periods we executed our gameplan really well and there is no doubt in my mind that we deserve to be through to the final.
“I’m so proud of the guys for making it happen and we now have the chance to win another trophy.
“They always seem to be pretty tight games between ourselves and Basingstoke and I’m sure it will be a good final.
“If the guys perform in the way we know they can, I’m sure they will have a good chance.”
Phantoms’ passage into the final was soured by unsavoury scenes after the buzzer as they were set up on by a number of Bracknell players.
Ryan Watt appeared to be the chief culprit with fellow Bees men Joe Baird, Brendan Baird, Ben Paynter and James Galazzi also hit with game penalties for their parts in the incident.
Footage has appeared on social media of Watt unleashing a series of blows on Phantoms captain James Ferrara, who made no attempt to fight back.
And Koulikov has called on the authorities to take the necessary action, adding: “It is unacceptable to act in that manner regardless of whether a team has won or lost.
“We’ll wait and see what the referee’s report says, but hopefully what happened will be looked at and the right action will be taken.
“We’re moving in the right direction as a league, but we need to have certain things in place that take horrible incidents like we saw last night out of hockey.”
Phantoms travel to Basingstoke next Thursday (February 28) for the opening leg of the final before hosting the second leg at Planet Ice on Wednesday, March 13.
Before then, they face two NIHL Division One South clashes this weekend. Phantoms host second-bottom MK Thunder at Planet Ice on Saturday (February 23, 7pm) before going to basement side Invicta on Sunday (February 24, 5.15pm).
24.14 VanKleef ass: Thompson/Stead
37.12 Z. Milton ass: Mogg
12.16 Susters unassisted
41.50 White (PP) ass: Robson/Susters
52.29 McEwen (PP) ass: White/Stepanek