Peterborough Phantoms face a huge and hectic January
A huge January lies ahead for Peterborough Phantoms, both in terms of workload and significance.
The demanding month began on New Year’s Day when they were beaten 6-3 at home by fierce rivals Milton Keynes in the NIHL National Division.
That was the first of nine league clashes during a hectic spell which also features both legs of their NIHL National Cup semi-final showdown against Hull. And head coach Slava Koulikov admits the next few weeks will have a major impact on the season.
“Our expectation for this year was to compete in the top four and we’ve managed to do that,” said Koulikov.
“Getting ourselves through to the semi-finals of the cup was an excellent effort and, hopefully, we can go one step further to the final.
“It won’t be easy against Hull by any means, but that is a priority for us. We managed to win three pieces of silverware last season and it would be great to get another trophy.
“We have a very tough run ahead with so many games in such a short space of time. It’s tough on everyone, especially the players who have already worked so hard for us this season.
“But we have to continue to dig deep and to fight for every point that is available as there are a lot of strong teams chasing in the league.”
Thankfully Phantoms’ injury problems have eased, with forward Glenn Billing due to return this weekend when Phantoms travel to Basingstoke (January 4) before hosting league leaders Telford (January 5, 5.30pm) while Petr Stepanek and Martins Susters were both back for the final clashes of 2019.
That means defenceman Scott Robson, who has already missed two months with a knee injury, is the only current absentee.