Peterborough Phantoms’ forwards will come good if they keep working hard

Petr Stepanek is Phantoms top scorer this season with five goals.
Petr Stepanek is Phantoms top scorer this season with five goals.
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Peterborough Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov is backing his forwards to find the killer touch in front of goal.

The city side are averaging only three goals per game in the opening weeks of the NIHL National Division season – a total that needs to rise.

Glenn Billing has three goals so far for Phantoms this season.

Glenn Billing has three goals so far for Phantoms this season.

Import ace Petr Stepanek has enjoyed a fine start to the campaign with five goals in six games and Glenn Billing has struck three times, but no other player has managed more than two.

Phantoms have been hampered by the loss of Corey McEwen to a shoulder injury which has prevented him from icing this term.

“There is no doubt that we are struggling for goals right now,” admitted Koulikov.

“We have six or seven top-end forwards at the club and one of them has not even put his skates on yet.

“Being without a player of Corey’s calibre has definitely affected us as we would expect a few goals from him in six games.

“But it is clear that a couple of other guys haven’t got the numbers we expect of them so far this season either.

“We haven’t changed any lines or combinations from last season when everything worked so well.

“But things are not quite clicking for us just yet – both individually and collectively at times.

“We’ve picked up 50 per cent of the points available for us so we don’t want to make it a big drama, but it is no secret that we need more goals.

“Spells like this happen in hockey and the guys must continue to work hard. If they do that, I’m sure they will start firing and the goals will flow.

“We all believe in those players and they have to make sure they believe in themselves too.”

While Phantoms are yet to hit top gear offensively, their defensive ranks are again performing well.

Only table-toppers Sheffield have conceded fewer than the 18 goals Phantoms have let in so far.

Phantoms travel to the Steel City to take on the Steeldogs tomorrow (October 12, 7.30pm) before hosting Milton Keynes at Planet Ice on Sunday (October 13, 5.30pm).

The Lightning are back in the second tier of the sport following two seasons in the Elite League, but they have started poorly with only one win to date.