Goals flowed and fists flew as Peterborough Phantoms claimed another home success.
A hard-hitting contest is assured when Basingstoke provide the opposition and that was the case again last night (September 29) when a final 5-1 scoreline didn’t tell the full story of a feisty Planet Ice clash.
Phantoms took command through early goals from captain James Ferrara and import Petr Stepanek, but they saw their advantage halved late in the second period.
And the city men had to wait until the final session to clinch the points with a three-goal salvo from Callum Buglass, Jarvis Hunt and Glenn Billing arriving in just under 10 minutes.
That hectic spell also featured a full-on forward line brawl as Phantoms men Will Weldon, Kieran Raynor and Joe Gretton all dropped the gloves with Bison trio Adam Harding, Alex Sampford and Tom Ralph.
“It’s always good to bounce back on a Sunday after losing on the Saturday,” said Koulikov. “We executed a lot of things right and got the two points we wanted.
“We had an unbelievable start and then had a lot of opportunities to stretch our lead further, but Basingstoke also made it a very tough game.
“They changed tactics a bit, became very aggressive, put us on the back-foot and got a goal back.
“But even bigger credit goes to my guys for adjusting to those things and getting the goals in the third period to make sure we came out on top.
“It’s always good for the fans to see a fight as well. It creates excitement for them and we did what we had to do to protect our goalie.”
It’s probably no surprise that Basingstoke resorted to illegal means in an attempt to ruffle Marr.
Phantoms’ formidable final line of defence has been beaten by just one of the 54 efforts he has faced on home ice so far this season with a 23-shot shut-out against Bracknell the previous Sunday being followed by the concession of just one goal from 31 shots last night.
It was also pleasing for the city team to find the net at the other end after drawing a blank in their 5-0 drubbing in Swindon 24 hours earlier.
Captain Ferrara set them on their way after just 24 seconds before Stepanek struck on a powerplay after Martins Susters’ initial effort was saved.
Stepanek was denied further goals on several occasions by Bison netminder Alex Mettam, who also thwarted fellow import Ales Padelek and Weldon among others.
Marr was frequently required to keep out the visitors at the other end, but he was powerless to prevent Ralph striking with a rising shot on a powerplay to leave the game in the balance.
But that was as close as Basingstoke got with Phantoms upping the ante with a scoring burst in the final period.
A goal made and finished by defencemen provided breathing space as Scott Robson picked out Buglass to guide his shot through flailing sticks and past Mettam.
Stepanek then showed his class with an exquisite pass for teenage talent Hunt to coolly convert a fourth goal before battle commenced at the other end of the ice as players from both sides traded blows.
Once order had been restored Phantoms saved their best until last as Billing produced a fitting finish to slick play involving linemates Padelek and Ferrara.
“Jordan showed again why he is the best goalie in the league,” added Koulikov. “I truly believe that because he gives us a chance to win every game.
“But I could stand here and praise every guy because we were fantastic as individuals and as a team.
“Not everything came off for us by any means, but we made sure we didn’t dwell on a difficult Saturday in Swindon.”
Phantoms face another clash against Basingstoke on Saturday (October 5) when travelling to Hampshire ahead of a first-ever date with newcomers Leeds at Planet Ice on Sunday (October 6).
0.24 J. Ferrara ass: Padelek/Norton
5.07 Stepanek (PP) ass: Susters/Buglass
47.56 Buglass ass: Robson/Pollard
53.30 Hunt ass: Stepanek/Pollard
57.04 Billing (PP) ass: J. Ferrara/Padelek
37.57 Ralph (PP) ass: Bordowski/Harding
PHANTOMS – Jordan Marr
BASINGSTOKE – Tom Ralph