Peterborough Phantoms prevailed in a nine-goal thriller last night (October 26).
The city club gained a belated slice of revenge when beating their Grand Final conquerors of last season – Hull Pirates – 5-4 at Planet Ice.
Phantoms twice came from behind before hitting the front in an exciting opening period before two further goals early in the middle session stretched their advantage.
However, a short-benched Hull side hit back to set up a grandstand finale in which the visitors’ lack of discipline ultimately cost them the chance to level.
“They are two big points for us,” said Koulikov. “It’s great to get straight back to winning ways at home.
“Hull are running a short bench at the moment but they have a huge spirit and a lot of quality.
“They are a very difficult team to play against and I’m pleased for our guys to be able to beat them in regulation time.
“I was happy with our powerplay, happy with our overall performance and happy with the win ahead of another big game in Hull.”
A debut goal from new import David Norris put Hull ahead before captain James Ferrara levelled after fine work from Callum Buglass and Ales Padelek.
Phantoms soon found themselves trailing again as Bobby Chamberlain struck for the visitors, but two powerplay goals in the space of 65 seconds from Martins Susters and Ales Padelek turned the contest.
And another double-salvo from Phantoms arrived early in the second session with leading scorer Petr Stepanek’s strike followed by another powerplay effort from Padelek.
But a three-goal lead is still not a comfortable situation against a team with the offensive quality of Hull and the Pirates gradually ate into their arrears.
Former Phantoms man Sam Towner struck just past the mid-point of the contest and Chamberlain bagged his second goal with just under half of the final session to go.
But Phantoms, who saw a Stepanek penalty shot saved in the second period, preserved their single-goal cushion during the closing stages which were littered with penalties.
Despite failing to take advantage of a powerplay, which included a spell of five on three, they did enough to pocket the points on a night when Corey McEwen made his first appearance of the campaign
The forward ace missed the opening 10 league games with a shoulder injury suffered in pre-season.
“Corey did well for his first game back,” added Koulikov
“He is obviously not match-fit after being out for so long, but he is one of the best skaters in the league which helps him.”
Phantoms now travel to Hull for the return clash tonight (October 27, 5.30pm).
11.16 J. Ferrara ass: Buglass/Padelek
16.30 Susters (PP) ass: Stepanek/Robson
17.35 Padelek (PP) ass: J. Ferrara/Norton
21.25 Stepanek ass: Susters/Weldon
22.58 Padelek (PP) ass: Norton/Billing
8.18 Norris ass: Towner/Fisher
12.24 Chamberlain ass: Hewitt/Bonner
31.55 Towner ass: Norris/Fisher
50.33 Chamberlain ass: Hewitt/Fabus
PHANTOMS – Ales Padelek
HULL – David Norris