Peterborough Phantoms are loving life in a mich more competitive league

Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov says his side are loving life in the NIHL National Division.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 2:00 pm
Will Weldon and Conor Pollard in action for Phantoms against Hull Pirates. Photo: Tom Scott.

The city club sit third in the new second-tier standings after a dozen outings in the inaugural season.

Koulikov is pleased with the foundations his own side have laid and is also impressed by the standard of hockey seen so far.

“It is a very unpredictable league which makes it more interesting for coaches, for players and for fans,” said Koulikov.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’re 12 games in and I feel we have done enough to show that we can get to where we want to be this season.

“We’re picking up more than 50 per cent of the points and we’re in a good position in the table.

“We’ve had some pleasing results, but of course we always want more and there are a couple of games we could definitely have taken more from.

“We have produced some good spells and played constructive hockey in most games, but a bit more urgency is required at times.”

Phantoms head to Bracknell tomorrow (November 2, 6.15pm) when they will be out to avenge a 5-4 defeat at The Hive on the opening night of the campaign. They did respond with a 3-0 home success against the Bees 24 hours later.

Basingstoke are the opposition at Planet Ice on Sunday (November 3, 5.30pm) as the Hampshire side make their third visit to Bretton already this term.

They were beaten 4-0 in the second leg of the pre-season Billy Glover Memorial Cup and then went down 5-1 to Phantoms in a September league clash.

Koulikov has completed the permanent signing of defenceman Joe Gretton on a two-way deal...from the club’s own second team.

The 22 year-old, who can also operate as a forward, joined the Phantoms 2 side in the summer from Nottingham Lions.

He had initially expected to be playing in NIHL Division Two South East, but he has featured in all 12 of Phantoms’ outings so far this season and Koulikov will now have first claim on his services.

“I’ve had time to look closely at Joe’s performances and I’m very pleased with what he has given us on and off the ice,” said Koulikov.

“He’s a great kid to who fits in well in the dressing room and I’m looking forward to seeing the next steps he takes as a hockey player.”