We’re all hungry for more glory says Slava

Peterborough Phantoms players celebrate another super Sunday success at Planet Ice.
Peterborough Phantoms players celebrate another super Sunday success at Planet Ice.
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Head coach Slava Koulikov insists his Peterborough Phantoms trophy heroes are hungry for more glory.

The double-winners could still double their silverware haul as a fantastic season reaches an exciting climax.

It begins with the NIHL Division One South play-offs final this weekend when league runners-up Phantoms face fourth-placed finishers Bracknell – the semi-final conquerors of champions Swindon – in a two-legged battle.

Koulikov’s men hit the road for The Hive on Saturday (6pm) before welcoming the Bees back to Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm) when they will have the opportunity to lift a trophy on home ice for the third time this season.

And regardless of what happens this weekend, Phantoms and the Bees will then advance to the NIHL Final Four where the top two sides from the South do battle with their equivalents in the North – Hull and Sheffield – over April 13/14 in Coventry for one last prize.

“To be through to the conference final and then be going to Coventry is another great achievement from a great group of guys,” said Koulikov.

“There are two weekends left in the season and we know we are going to be fighting for trophies in each of them.

“No other team in the South or North leagues has done better than us, but hopefully there are still more great moments to come.

“I’m sure Bracknell will have wanted to do better than finishing in fourth place and going out in the semi-finals of the cup with the roster they have.

“There is no doubt they are a good hockey team. They are very strong individually, they have depth collectively and they will be desperate to win a trophy.

“Their morale will be up after putting out the league champions in the semi-finals and it’s a good situation for them to be in.

“But our confidence is also high after already winning two trophies and every single person in our locker room is hungry for more.

“Any game involving two of the top-four teams is pretty much a 50/50 game and this final will be no different.”

Phantoms have earned 4-2, 6-3 and 5-4 victories against the Bees in their league clashes at Planet Ice this season – although the latter triumph arrived in overtime after they trailed 4-1 with 10 minutes of regulation time to go.

They also won 5-4 in their first visit to The Hive but were then beaten 3-2 and 8-2 in their remaining trips.

Phantoms were convincing 9-5 aggregate winners against Bracknell in the semi-finals of the NIHL South Cup when following up a 6-3 home triumph with a 3-2 verdict in Berkshire.

But that success was soured by unsavoury scenes at the final buzzer in the second leg with a host of Bracknell players and head coach Doug Sheppard being handed suspensions for their actions. The chief culprit, Ryan Watt, is still out after receiving a 28-game ban that will run well into next season.

“Things happen in hockey,” added Koulikov. “And I’m sure both clubs have moved on from that incident.

“All that matters now is two big games this weekend for another trophy. We’re looking forward to them and I’m sure Bracknell are as well.”