Phantoms will be hoping to carry on where they left off

Tom Norton celebrates scoring the Autumn Cup final  winner. Picture: Tom Scott
Tom Norton celebrates scoring the Autumn Cup final winner. Picture: Tom Scott
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Head coach Slava Koulikov wants Peterborough Phantoms to pick up from where they left off this weekend.

The table-topping city team return to NIHL Division One South action after a 13-day break - and they have seen their title hopes boosted during that time.

Bracknell are now the closest challengers to Phantoms following a weekend double over previous second-placed side Swindon. The Bees have closed to within a point of Koulikov’s men but they have played five more games.

Swindon now share third spot with Basingstoke and both of those teams are three points behind Phantoms while also having completed more games than the pacesetters.

They have the chance to close the gap when doing battle in Hampshire tomorrow night (Friday) before both sides face Phantoms this weekend.

Koulikov takes his team on a Saturday trip to Swindon (6.15pm) and that is followed by a Sunday home date against Basingstoke (5.30pm), but he is at pains not to place too much significance on the weekend.

“We were all able to switch off for a few days after a really busy run of games and the guys are now hungry to get going again,” said Koulikov.

“Every game is big and every weekend is important when you are challenging for a title.

“This one is certainly no different, but how the fixtures fall is not really something we worry about.

“We know we have a six-game series with every other team and we only ever take it one game at a time.

“Of course we are aware of what is happening elsewhere, but our concern is on ensuring what we do is right. We will just focus on our own performances and try to continue to play as positively as we have done so far.

“It is fantastic to have won a trophy already, but we all hope to win more silverware and that means we must maintain our consistency.

“Swindon is a rink where we have a decent record and hopefully that can continue on Saturday before we worry about Basingstoke on Sunday.”

Phantoms returned to the ice last night (Boxing Day) and practice again tomorrow (Friday) ahead of reaching the halfway stage of the league campaign at Basingstoke.

They have currently played 20 of their 42 fixtures in NIHL Division One South and have been beaten only once in regulation time – at home against Swindon in November.

Two other ‘defeats’ arrived in overtime at home against Raiders and in their last visit to Basingstoke a fortnight ago.

NIHL DIVISION ONE SOUTH

P W L F A Pts

Phantoms 20 17 3 90 41 36

Bracknell 25 16 9 94 71 35

Swindon 24 15 9 102 57 33

Basingstoke 22 16 6 81 53 33

Raiders 25 14 11 106 83 30

Streatham 23 10 13 78 82 22

MK Thunder 21 4 17 42 89 9

Invicta 26 1 25 36 153 2