Slava salutes his King as Phantoms stay in title hunt

Euan King was in outstanding form for Phantoms at the weekend.
Euan King was in outstanding form for Phantoms at the weekend.
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Head coach Slava Koulikov heaped praise on netminder Euan King after he played a starring role in a vital four-point weekend.

King produced overtime and penalty shoot-out heroics last Saturday as Phantoms snatched a 3-2 victory against Bracknell Bees at Planet Ice.

And the goaltender was just as impressive again 24 hours later when earning a shut-out in a 2-0 triumph at Streatham.

Those results ensured Phantoms kept pace with title rivals Basingstoke as a thrilling conclusion to the NIHL Division One South campaign lies ahead.

Koulikov said: “We knew we were getting a netminder with plenty of experience when we brought ‘Kinger’ in and that helps in important situations. He was outstanding in both games last weekend and was a huge part of our two wins.

“He made some huge saves against Bracknell and won us the shoot-out before really deserving his shut-out against Streatham.

“We showed a lot of character as a team on both nights. The guys kept battling when things weren’t going their way against Bracknell and managed to come away with the two points in the end.

“Every single player rose to the occasion again at Streatham. It is a really tough place to go - one where other top teams like Basingstoke and Swindon have been beaten.

“We’re in a position where we need to win every game and that brings pressure.”

That will continue to be the case this weekend when Phantoms entertain Milton Keynes Thunder at Planet Ice on Saturday (7pm) before travelling to Bracknell for another clash against the Bees on Sunday (6pm).

Neither game can be taken lightly after MK triumphed in their previous visit to Bretton and Bracknell pushed Koulikov’s men to the limit last Saturday.

Koulikov added: “It’s the same scenario every weekend now - we have to perform to get the points.

“MK beat us at home earlier in the season and we need to put that result right, while we know we are guaranteed another tough game against Bracknell on Sunday.

“We all want to win the league and believe we can do it, but we are only going to take one game at a time.”

Defenceman Scott Robson is an injury concern for Phantoms. He sustained a blow to the knee against Bracknell last Saturday and then sat out the trip to Streatham the following night.