Peterborough Phantoms coach is thrilled as his side knock Swindon from the top of the table
Head coach Slava Koulikov dished out the plaudits following a night of bests from Peterborough Phantoms.
Koulikov was thrilled by the performance produced and result earned as the city men sent title favourites Swindon tumbling from the top of the NIHL National Division table with a 6-3 triumph.
Phantoms produced a devastating spell of three goals in less than two minutes during the second period and then clinched victory in the final stanza when striking twice in a minute.
The sublime was accompanied by a game-changing moment which could easily be classed as ridiculous as the hosts were gifted a fifth goal at a crucial stage of the third period by Wildcats netminder Renny Marr.
“I’m a very happy man after that game,” said Koulikov. “It is by far our best performance and result of the season.
“My goaltender was unbelievable, my defencemen were superb against big and skilful players, and my forwards moved their feet, looked dangerous and scored goals.
“Every single guy on the roster stepped out of their comfort zone, played above expectations for the full 60 minutes and contributed to a great night for us.”
A Petr Stepanek bullet provided the breakthrough for Phantoms just past the mid-point of the opening period.
Two terrific saves from netminder Jordan Marr then denied Wildcats imports Tomasz Malasinski a leveller as Swindon threatened while short-handed.
But the visitors soon restored parity when back up to a full complement of players as player-coach Aaron Nell finished a well-worked breakaway.
And the Wildcats completed the turnaround early in the second period when the fast skating of Chris Jones put a second goal on a plate for Toms Rutkis at the back post.
But the table-toppers were then stunned by a terrific Phantoms response which featured three goals in less than two minutes.
Ales Padelek’s super slap-shot launched the rip-roaring spell before Conor Pollard pounced to put the city side back ahead.
And their lead was quickly extended when Martins Susters got in on the act after being picked out by a super Stepanek pass.
But a two-goal cushion against a team stacked with quality was never going to be a secure cushion and Swindon duly halved their arrears when Malasinski coolly put away a fine Nell pass in the sixth minute of the final period.
A brilliant save from Renny Marr then denied Phantoms captain James Ferrara, but the Wildcats netminder was left with egg on his face as the contest was settled in the space of a minute.
Phantoms could have been forgiven for wearing the worst when Corey McEwen collected a needless penalty for delaying the game, but rather than having to battle to hold onto their lead they were actually given a huge helping hand in stretching it.
Renny Marr left his crease to collect a puck, but inexplicably sent a pass against his own post and gifted Padelek the easiest goal of a career spanning more than 20 years.
And it was followed by a clincher 59 seconds later as Nathan Pollard capped an excellent display with a searing strike to register his second goal in as many days.
The success was even more valuable for Phantoms as it counted towards the NIHL National Cup standings as well.
And they also have league and cup points up for grabs this weekend when a Saturday (November 23) derby trip to Milton Keynes is followed by a home date against Sheffield the following night (November 24).
10.04 Stepanek ass: Susters/Long
26.46 Padelek ass: J. Ferrara
27.51 C. Pollard ass: O’Flaherty/Norton
28.26 Susters ass: Stepanek/McEwen
53.36 Padelek (SH) unassisted
54.35 N. Pollard ass: Stepanek/Bowering
14.03 Nell ass: Birbraer/Malansinski
21.55 Rutkis ass: Jones/Nethersell
45.41 Malasinski ass: Nell/Godfrey
PHANTOMS – Ales Padelek
SWINDON – Tomasz Malasinski