Peterborough Phantoms coach says ice hockey needs more technology to help police the sport

Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov has repeated calls for greater use of technology in policing the sport following the opening weekend of the NIHL National Division season.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Phantoms youngster Ross Clarke (left) was the victim of a nasty incident against Bracknell.

The Phantoms head coach was unhappy with a number of incidents during the city club’s 3-0 victory against Bracknell at Planet Ice on Sunday.

And Koulikov, who has long been an advocate of studying video footage for disciplinary matters, insists a clampdown is required.

He was particularly annoyed by a needless check to the head on youngster Ross Clarke in the dying seconds – an offence which earned a 2+10 penalty for Bees man Aidan Doughty.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Phantoms coach Slava Koulkov.

The same Bees player was responsible for an off-the-puck slash moments earlier which led to him breaking his own stick.

“It was a cheap shot on Ross,” said Koulikov. “But it wasn’t just that one incident.

“You have to look at what was going on off the play with slashing and trying to injure guys.

“No one likes losing and we all get frustrated about it, but we react in different ways.

“If someone wants to throw a hit, that’s fine, but we can’t have things like spearing and hitting after the whistle.

“We saw one Bracknell player break his stick while slashing one of our guys off the play. I don’t see how that is only a two-minute penalty, but I can’t do much about it.

“Physical play is not a problem but being dirty is. Do we have to wait for someone to get hurt badly before something is done?

“We now have the four official system, but they cannot see everything and they cannot be expected to get everything right in a split-second.

“We’re in 2019 and we’re not making enough use of the technology that is available to us.

“The league should view video of games in more depth and either upgrade or downgrade penalties as is necessary – just as in the Elite League.

“That way coaches would get fined, players would get suspended and this sort of thing would soon stop because it would cost people games, jobs and money.”

That grievance aside, Koulikov is expecting an exciting campaign in the sport’s new second tier.

It is one that continues this weekend with a Saturday 
visit to title favourites Swindon (6.15pm) ahead of a Sunday home date against Basingstoke (5.30pm).

Swindon were pipped 7-6 in overtime in Hull last Sunday after kicking off with a 9-6 win against Raiders the previous night.

Basingstoke beat Telford 7-5 in their home opener last Saturday but were then thumped 8-3 on the road by Raiders 24 hours later.

Sheffield and Hull are the only two teams in the 10-club division to have won their opening two games.

“It is going to be an interesting league for players, coaches and fans,” added Koulikov.

“I do not see a single easy game and that means we have to be physically and mentally ready every night.

“We won’t get down if we lose a game and we won’t get carried away if win.”

Koulikov hopes young forward Taylor Romeo will be fit to return this weekend after sitting out the clashes against Bracknell with a shoulder problem.

But the Phantoms chief fears Corey McEwen could miss several more games with a shoulder injury of his own.