Peterborough Phantoms complete fabulous few days with a dramatic comeback victory
Peterborough Phantoms toasted a triumph over tiredness last night (January 19) to complete a terrific run of results.
The city team staged a series of fine fightbacks - on a night when they trailed by two-goal margins on three separate occasions - to snatch a 6-5 success against Sheffield Steeldogs in an NIHL National Division thriller.
A short-handed leveller from captain James Ferrara and a wildly celebrated winner from Martins Susters raised the roof at Planet Ice as Phantoms bagged a third win in the space of just four days.
It was no surprise that head coach Slava Koulikov was full of praise for the efforts of his men who followed up a fine Thursday (January 16) cup semi-final success in Hull with a four-point weekend in the league.
“It was a game full of entertainment for a pretty big crowd,” said Koulikov.
“A lot of credit goes to Sheffield for the part they played in it as they came with a really good gameplan.
“But my guys deserve even bigger credit for what they have done in the last few days by winning three big games against tough teams.
“We knew there might be more mistakes due to the amount of games we’ve had, but we stayed strong mentally and we showed our character in a great ending in the game.”
Phantoms found themselves trailing to an Alex Graham goal after just 19 seconds before Steeldogs import Jan Danecek doubled the visitors’ lead.
Captain Ferrara hit back on a powerplay late in the opening session, but former Phantoms man Nathan Salem marked his return from a long injury layoff by cashing in a numerical advantage for the Steeldogs little more than a minute into the middle stanza.
A Tom Norton bobbler from the blue line cut the deficit again . . . only for it to increase once more when Charles Thompson lashed in a fourth goal for the visitors just past the mid-point of the contest.
Koulikov’s response was immediate and drastic as netminder Jordan Marr was replaced by back-up Ryan Bainborough as sought to spark his side into life. It was a move designed to get a reaction and it worked a treat.
Within nine seconds they hit back through Petr Stepanek and less than three minutes later levelled as Glenn Billing turned in a Nathan Long shot.
But there was soon another spanner in the works as Bainborough was beaten by a deflected Lewis Bell shot in the final minute of the period to hand Sheffield the initiative all over again.
And they held that advantage for much of the final session until Phantoms summoned a final push from their aching bodies.
Ferrara coolly and classily took a short-handed opportunity to level before Susters completed a late turnaround by finding the twine with a shade under two minutes to go.
Phantoms were back in Bretton for the second successive night after also triumphing at Planet Ice on Saturday (January 18).
Their ‘away’ clash against Leeds was staged in the city due to the bottom side’s rink still not being completed.
A powerplay opener from Norton and a Susters effort handed Phantoms the initiative but they saw their lead halved by Lewis Houston later in the opening session.
It was wiped out completely when former Peterborough man Richard Bentham levelled for the Chiefs on a delayed penalty in the second period, but that sparked an immediate response.
Phantoms struck twice in the next five minutes – through Susters and Conor Pollard on a powerplay – to regain the upper hand before a fifth goal from Will Weldon followed just before the mid-point of the final session.
Bentham bagged his second to provide a Leeds consolation late on before Glenn Billing had the final say inside the closing minute.
Phantoms remain fourth in the NIHL National Division standings ahead of a double-header against the team currently one place and one point ahead of them.
They face back-to-back clashes against Basingstoke this weekend with a Saturday (January 25) trip to Hampshire followed by a Sunday (January 26) home clash against the same opponents.
SATURDAY MATCH DETAILS
14.29 Houston ass: Baldwin
27.36 Bentham (DP) ass: Barnes
58.05 Bentham ass: Hehir/Charnock
3.21 Norton (PP) ass: J. Ferrara
7.57 Susters ass: Stepanek/Weldon
29.06 Susters ass: Stepanek/Buglass
32.10 C. Pollard (PP) ass: McEwen/Susters
49.18 Weldon unassisted
59.10 Billing ass: J. Ferrara/Padelek
LEEDS – Richard Bentham
PHANTOMS – Glenn Billing
SUNDAY MATCH DETAILS
18.46 J. Ferrara (PP) ass: Padelek/Billing
29.09 Norton (PP) ass: Billing
32.21 Stepanek ass: Susters/McEwen
34.56 Billing ass: Long/J. Ferrara
53.12 J. Ferrara (SH) ass: Stepanek/R. Ferrara
58.03 Susters ass: Stepanek/R. Ferrara
0.19 Graham ass: Spurr/Luka
15.30 Danecek ass: Elliott
21.13 Salem (PP) ass: Graham/Morgan
32.12 Thompson ass: Graham/Morgan
39.30 Bell (PP) ass: Cochrane/Danecek
PHANTOMS – James Ferrara
SHEFFIELD – Reece Cochrane