Peterborough Phantoms powered to their biggest success of the new NIHL National Division era last night (November 10).
Slava Koulikov’s men delivered a double-figure destruction of struggling Raiders in a 10-1 romp at Planet Ice.
The devastating display featured hat-tricks from linemates Martins Susters and Corey McEwen with the former laying the foundations for victory in the first period before the latter belatedly kicked his campaign into gear following injury.
But they were far from being the only star performers on a night when Phantoms looked lethal offensively to return to winning ways after a frustrating 8-5 defeat at table-topping Swindon the previous night.
Reaching double-figures was the least they deserved back on home ice and such was their dominance, many more goals would not have flattered them.
Just in case one hiding wasn’t enough for poor old Raiders, they received another one late on when their supposed hardman, Mason Webster, made the mistake of picking on Joe Gretton and received a volley of punches for his troubles!
“I thought we performed well all weekend except maybe for the third period in Swindon when the game there got away from us,” said head coach Koulikov.
“But the guys responded really well to that by producing a 60-minute performance against Raiders.
“I’m really pleased for them and also for the fans who saw a lot of goals, a lot of hits and a fight at the end. The rink was almost full and everyone got plenty of entertainment.
“I know the guys felt they could have got something out of the game in Swindon and their hunger for a win was clear to see against Raiders.
“Earlier in the season we were struggling for goals, but now we are showing we can put the puck in the net and we are becoming one of the highest scoring teams.”
McEwen carved out the opener for Susters after just 75 seconds and the same man doubled the lead with a fine blast on a powerplay.
Quick thinking and slick handling from Petr Stepanek allowed Susters to complete an early treble and the only surprise was that Phantoms then had to wait until well into the second period for another breakthrough.
Their near-constant pressure was finally rewarded when McEwen opened his account for the season after sitting out the opening 10 games with a shoulder problem.
That proved to be the only goal of the middle session but Phantoms really went for the jugular in the closing period when more than doubling their tally.
It was only 18 seconds old when captain James Ferrara got in on the act and Stepanek then added his name to the list of scorers less than a minute later.
A Raiders reply from Jake Sylvester ended Phantoms’ hopes of a shut-out, but it was nothing more than a minor irritation with normal service soon being resumed.
McEwen struck the next two goals past two different netminders as Raiders replaced Michael Gray with back-up Greg Blais, but the new custodian could do nothing to stem the tide.
Glenn Billing’s cheeky powerplay effort continued Phantoms’ charge before short-term signing Gareth O’Flaherty sent them into double digits with his first goal for the club.
Phantoms now head to Hull this Saturday (November 16, 6pm) before having another crack at title favourites Swindon when the Wiltshire side make their first visit of the season to Planet Ice on Sunday (November 17, 5.30pm).
1.15 Susters ass: McEwen/Stepanek
5.47 Susters (PP) ass: Billing/Padelek
15.35 Susters ass: Stepanek/Norton
33.13 McEwen (PP) ass: Susters/C. Pollard
40.18 J. Ferrara ass: Billing/Padelek
41.03 Stepanek ass: McEwen/Susters
46.02 McEwen ass: Stepanek/Susters
51.08 McEwen ass: Romeo/Clarke
53.20 Billing (PP) ass: Susters/Padelek
57.16 O’Flaherty ass: Romeo/Bowering
42.38 Sylvester ass: Piatak/Connolly
PHANTOMS – Corey McEwen
RAIDERS – Sean Barry