Phantoms coach Koulikov quick to thank the fans

Head coach Slava Koulikov issued high praise for his Peterborough Phantoms players and their army of fans following another trophy triumph last night (March 13).

By Mark Plummer
Thursday, 14th March 2019, 7:36 am
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 8:40 am
Slava Koulikov issues instructions during a timeout in the final minutes of the cup final. Picture: Tom Scott
Slava Koulikov issues instructions during a timeout in the final minutes of the cup final. Picture: Tom Scott

The city men completed an honours double by lifting the NIHL South Cup thanks to a 6-5 aggregate success against Basingstoke.

The two sides battled out a 4-4 deadlock in a pulsating second leg showdown at Planet Ice, but that left Phantoms in the driving seat overall following a 2-1 verdict in the opening clash in Hampshire.

“It feels great to have won another trophy,” said Koulikov, whose side lifted the NIHL Autumn Cup back in December.

Captain James Ferrara parades the cup. Picture: Tom Scott

“We knew both games would be tight and it was no surprise that one goal settled it on aggregate.

“Both teams laid everything on the ice in both legs and it is fantastic to come out on top.

“The rink was packed, the atmosphere was unbelievable and there is no doubt that the fans had a huge input in the result.

“They were behind the guys from the first puck-drop to the final buzzer and I want to place on record my thanks to them on behalf of everyone connected to the club.”

Phantoms recovered from being 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 down on the night with Ales Padelek and captain James Ferrara hitting powerplay goals in a third-period comeback to claim the crown.

Padelek had also hit their first goal of the second leg with Nathan Pollard the other scorer.

“Once we got back to 4-4 on the night and ahead on aggregate I was confident the guys could execute the remainder of the game correctly,” added Koulikov.

“Jimmy is a fantastic guy and a great captain. He definitely deserved to enjoy the moment of scoring the deciding goal.

“But this was a massive team performance from everyone and all the guys chipped in.

“Nathan scored a really important goal at a really important time and ‘Padi’ showed his amazing qualities again.

“We’ve seen again this year the Padi that we all know and love. No-one plays more than 400 games in the Czech Ekstraliga without a lot of talent and he has had a brilliant season.”

But Phantoms aren’t done yet. They go into the final weekend of the regular NIHL Division One South season with a slim chance of pipping leaders Swindon to the title.

And from there it’s straight into the play-offs with the chance to battle for two further pieces of silverware.

And Koulikov admits they are already craving more glory. He continued: “We’re in a part of the season where every game is an opportunity to win something.

“We’re still not out of the league title and then we roll into the play-offs.

“They are exciting times and two have two trophies already in our possession is a huge achievement.

“But I know I can speak for everyone in our room when I say we are hungry for more.”