Players and the fans win praise from coach Slava

Petr Stepanek celebrates scoring against Streatham. Picture: Tom Scott
Petr Stepanek celebrates scoring against Streatham. Picture: Tom Scott
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Head coach Slava Koulikov was full of praise for his players and the club’s fans following another impressive weekend for Phantoms.

They returned to NIHL Division One South action with back-to-back victories, following up a 2-1 triumph at Basingstoke last Saturday with a 3-2 home triumph against Streatham in overtime on Sunday.

Their winning streak now stands at five games in all competitions and Koulikov is delighted with the progress being made as well as the backing his men received.

“The guys found a way to win on both nights to complete a very pleasing four-point weekend against two good teams,” said Koulikov.

“There were a lot of positives to take from Saturday and Sunday. Of course there are things we can improve on, but I’m happy with where we are right now.

“We found another gear in the third period to get the win in Basingstoke and there is no doubt we deserved the two points against Streatham.

“We were very dominant against a team with experienced players who play smart hockey, and it was great to have the fans behind us.

“That was the loudest I’ve heard our rink in a long time and huge credit goes to the crowd for that. They definitely gave us the extra energy to go out and make sure we got the two points.

“We’re winning hockey games, we’re building momentum and hopefully we can keep that going.

“We have over-achieved for the last four years. That’s why the standards and expectations have both been set so high, and we will try to do that again this season.”

Phantoms face tests from teams at opposite ends of the NIHL Division One South standings this weekend.

They go to table-topping Bracknell on Saturday (6pm) ahead of a Sunday (5.30pm) home clash against bottom side Invicta.

Bracknell have made a fine start under new coach Doug Sheppard – the man who steered Basingstoke to glory last season.

A number of Bison players followed the coach to Berkshire and they have hit the ground running with seven wins in their opening nine games, although they were pipped in overtime by title favourites Swindon last Sunday.

Bracknell also picked up classy defenceman Ed Knaggs from Phantoms during the summer.

Sunday opponents Invicta are yet to open their NIHL Division One account after slumping to eight defeats.

Treble-winning defenceman Andy Munroe, young forward Martins Susters and netminder Adam Long are former Peterborough men in their ranks.