The depleted warriors of Peterborough Phantoms see off Raiders
Head coach Slava Koulikov paid tribute to his depleted Peterborough Phantoms warriors last night (December 15).
The city side shrugged off a stack of injuries and survived a third-period scare to beat Raiders 6-4 in a 10-goal thriller at Planet Ice.
The triumph ensured Koulikov’s men retained third spot in the NIHL National Division and earned a glowing review with an ever-increasing casualty list now featuring import star Petr Stepanek.
The Czech giant suffered a neck problem during a 6-4 loss in Swindon the previous evening and is also being troubled by a wrist injury.
“It’s a really difficult time for us with even more injuries cropping up,” said Koulikov.
“We lost one of our imports after 15 minutes on Saturday night to add to the other guys we already have out.
“It’s a time where we have to dig deep and we did that on both nights this weekend.
“We could easily have come away from Swindon with a point and then managed to get the win back at home against Raiders.
“We knew it might not be the best performance and that some things might not come off.
“I don’t mind admitting some spells of the game weren’t pretty but other parts were really good. For almost all of the first period our puck movement and team play was great to see.”
Phantoms fell behind inside the opening minute but responded powerfully with a hat-trick of powerplay goals from captain James Ferrara, red-hot Tom Norton and the excellent Nathan Pollard.
But Aaron Connolly then replied for Raiders as they made the most of a numerical advantage to cut the gap to one goal.
But it grew away early in the second period when Phantoms struck twice in the space of 82 seconds. Ales Padelek thumped in the first of them before providing the assist for Will Weldon to get on the scoresheet.
Phantoms’ roster was further depleted by the loss of young Ross Clarke after he was pole-axed by an ugly hit from behind by Raiders man Mason Webster in the third period.
Defenceman Joe Gretton was quick to jump in and drop the gloves with Webster who was then thrown out on a match penalty once the dust settled.
But Phantoms failed to take advantage of the five-minute powerplay which followed the ejection of Webster and were fortunate not to see their advantage cut as they coughed up a number of chances.
Raiders did eventually eat into their arrears through Lukas Sladovsky and the same man then struck again in a short-handed situation to set up a tense finale.
The visitors sacrificed netminder Ethan James in a desperate bid to claw themselves level, but it was a move which backfired as an Olegs Lascenko gaffe gifted Corey McEwen a gift-wrapped pre-Christmas clincher.
Phantoms are back on home ice on Saturday (December 21) when they host Bracknell at Planet Ice (7pm).
That clash is followed by a third trip of the season to Romford to take on Raiders on Sunday (December 22, 5.15pm).
6.34 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Norton
11.35 Norton (PP) ass: J. Ferrara
14.17 N. Pollard (PP) ass: McEwen/C. Pollard
22.22 Padelek (PP) ass: J. Ferrara/Norton
23.44 Weldon ass: Padelek/J. Ferrara
59.40 McEwen (EN) unassisted
0.58 Novak ass: Sladkovsky/Connolly
16.21 Connolly (PP) ass: Baldock
52.34 Sladkovsky ass: Novak
55.09 Sladkovsky (SH) ass: Lascenko/Novak
PHANTOMS – Nathan Pollard
RAIDERS – Aaron Connolly