Peterborough Phantoms were on the receiving end of a double-dose of déjà vu at the weekend.
The city team were pipped in overtime by Hull Pirates in both pre-season clashes between the rival NIHL National Division sides.
The Humberside men, who also beat Phantoms on sudden-death in the NIHL Grand Final at the end of last season, prevailed 4-3 at Planet Ice on Saturday (September 7) before gaining a 7-6 verdict on their own ice last night (September 8).
They were contrasting games with Phantoms battling back from 3-1 down in Bretton thanks to third-period goals from Corey McEwen and Glenn Billing only to succumb to a Bobby Chamberlain strike in the additional five minutes.
Slava Koulikov’s men then saw two healthy leads wiped out in a feisty return clash on the road which featured two goals apiece from Billing and Conor Pollard - the only new recruit to the treble-winning roster of last season.
His brother, Nathan, also found the net along with captain James Ferrara in a game settled by Pirates player-coach Jason Hewitt.
Phantoms head coach Koulikov said: “We were a bit sluggish for two periods on Saturday before really producing a great fightback in the third period.
“We looked like being the only team who would go on to win, but unfortunately it was Hull who got the goal in overtime.
“It was the other way round last night where we controlled the game ourselves for the first two periods and did a lot of good things.
“But we didn’t manage the game well enough from 6-3 ahead and Hull got the momentum to come back at us in front of their fans.
“We missed a big chance in overtime and 10 seconds later the puck was in our net.
“Overall there were three good periods during the weekend and three where we could have done better.
“But they were two proper games against a strong team and they will certainly have done us good in the build-up to the league season.”
Phantoms were left with an injury concern last night when Robbie Ferrara was forced out of the action during the second period with a facial wound. The defenceman went to hospital in Hull for treatment.
There has been a new face in the club’s defensive corps with Joe Gretton involved in all three pre-season games to date.
The 22 year-old, from Nottingham, has signed for the Phantoms 2 team but has also been given the chance to impress Koulikov.
Phantoms complete their pre-season schedule with back-to-back clashes against Basingstoke in the now annual Billy Glover Memorial Trophy.
They head to Hampshire this Saturday (September 14, 6.30pm) before welcoming the Bison to Planet Ice the following night (September 15, 5.30pm).
SATURDAY MATCH DETAILS
30.38 Long ass: Susters/Stepanek
43.22 McEwen ass: Gretton
52.02 Billing ass: Padelek/J. Ferrara
3.30 Davies (SH) ass: Fabus
11.29 Hewitt ass: Sislannikovs/Chamberlain
35.42 Fabus ass: Davies/Bonner
63.23 Chamberlain ass: Davies/Hewitt
PHANTOMS – Corey McEwen
HULL – Olegs Sislannikovs
SUNDAY MATCH DETAILS
16.45 Bonner (SH) unassisted
19.05 Sislannikovs ass: Hewitt/Chamberlain
34.28 Fisher ass: Hewitt
46.57 Chamberlain ass: Towner/Bonner
51.29 Hewitt ass: Davies/Bonner
57.40 Fisher ass: Chamberlain/Sislannikovs
60.53 Hewitt unassisted
9.20 C. Pollard unassisted
13.24 Billing unassisted
24.24 Billing (PP) ass: Padelek
31.11 C. Pollard ass: McEwen
37.09 N. Pollard ass: Clarke/Long
43.18 J. Ferrara (PP) unassisted
HULL – Jordan Fisher
PHANTOMS – Glenn Billing