Peterborough Phantoms to sort out discipline issues ahead of a weekend double-header against Hull

Corey McEwen (right) could be back in action for Phantoms against Hull.
Corey McEwen (right) could be back in action for Phantoms against Hull.
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Head coach Slava Koulikov has declared himself happy with Peterborough Phantoms’ start to the inaugural NIHL National Division season – but admits there is still room for improvement.

The city team sit third in the second-tier standings after winning six of their opening 10 fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign.

They also gained an additional point when being pipped on penalties by Telford last Sunday (October 17).

But Koulikov remains concerned by the amount of penalties his side are picking up and insists it is an issue being addressed as an immediate priority.

“Overall we have to be happy with our start to the season,” stated Koulikov.

“We’re in a good position and we’re playing decent hockey in a very competitive league.

“We were struggling for goals at the start of the season but that has definitely changed in the more recent games.

“But there are always things to work on and the biggest one for us being that the guys have to keep themselves out of the penalty box.

“We’ve spoken about this on numerous occasions and it is still a problem which needs to be corrected as a group.

“Sometimes there are situations where you have to take a penalty to prevent a goal but we are picking up far too many in needless moments and they need to stop.”

Phantoms’ start is all the more pleasing given they have been without one of the star forwards.

But Corey McEwen, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained in pre-season, is expected to return for the home and away clashes against Hull this weekend.

However, the delight at McEwen being back has been offset by the loss of rising star Jarvis Hunt to a shoulder problem of his own during the victory against Raiders last Saturday.

“Corey skated twice last week and came through the practices well,” added Koulikov. “The physio is happy and it’s now down to him to tell me he is ready.

“I personally hope that nothing changes and we see him in the line-up against Hull.

“Obviously it is a shame to lose Jarvis to a similar injury as he has had a great start to the season.

“Hopefully we can get him back to full fitness pretty soon and he can pick up again from where he left off.”

Phantoms host Hull at Planet Ice tomorrow (October 23, 7pm) before travelling to Humberside on Sunday (5.30pm).