Resilient Peterborough Phantoms grind out a victory
Head coach Slava Koulikov hailed the resilience of his new Peterborough Phantoms roster after they completed a perfect weekend.
The city side triumphed 4-3 at Telford last night (September 16) to complete back-to-back NIHL Autumn Cup success against the Tigers in their first competitive outings of the new campaign. They had seen off the Shropshire side 3-1 at Planet Ice the previous evening.
Phantoms made a rip-roaring start with two goals in the opening seven minutes as Ales Padelek hit the opener before turning provider for Corey McEwen to swiftly double the advantage on a powerplay.
But Telford halved their arrears thanks to captain Jason Silverthorn later in the first period before levelling when Warren Tait provided the only goal of the middle session.
The loss of Silverthorn to injury ahead during that period left the Tigers without an import, but it didn’t stop them from completing the turnaround in the final stanza as veteran Rick Plant struck.
Phantoms were behind for little more than four minutes as Glenn Billing levelled before the first goal of Petr Stepanek’s second spell with the club earned victory.
The giant Czech forward opened his account with a short-handed goal, but Phantoms had to see out the contest at a numerical disadvantage after forward Harry Ferguson was thrown out with just over four minutes to go for a high stick offence.
Telford also pulled netminder Denis Bell with just under 90 seconds to go, but Phantoms held firm to complete a four-point weekend.
Phantoms chief Koulikov said: “We couldn’t have asked for any more than to start the season with two wins – and they were both good for different reasons.
“We played well on Saturday night even though we had to wait until quite late on to get our goals, whereas last night was a learning curve but we showed great character to grind out a result on the road.
“The guys kept fighting after going behind and got themselves level before Petr hit the short-handed winner. It was great to see our resilience after only a couple of weeks together and on a night where we picked up a lot of penalties.
“Being able to win games early in the season gives us a good foundation to build on as we go into the league.”
Phantoms begin their NIHL Division One South campaign this weekend. They entertain London side Raiders on Saturday (September 22, 7pm) before heading to Milton Keynes Thunder the following night (November 23, 6.45pm).
12:45 Silverthorn ass: Jesson/Plant
24:17 Tait ass: Mitchell/Hazeldine
44:17 Plant ass: Taylor/Jesson
4:37 Padelek ass: Robson/White
6:17 McEwen (PP) ass: Padelek/J. Ferrara
48:53 Billing ass: R. Ferrara
53:19 Stepanek (SH) ass: Billing