Phantoms could be the team to beat this season

Will Weldon insists Phantoms are happy to be the team to catch in the race for National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division One South honours.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 12:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 3:48 pm
Darius Pliskauskas (far left) celebrates scoring.

The city men have powered to the summit of the new second tier after reeling off three successive victories.

A season-opening success against Bracknell was followed up by a four-point weekend that featured 5-2 triumphs against Streatham last Saturday and MK Thunder the following night.

And the prospect of further victories is high this weekend when Phantoms face bottom side Cardiff Fire, who have lost heavily in all four of their league outings so far, home and away.

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They entertain the Welsh side at Planet Ice on Saturday (7pm) before travelling to the Ice Arena Wales the following night (6pm).

“We’ve not played as well as we hoped we would so far,” admitted Weldon. “But this is a results-based business and we’ve managed to pick up the wins.

“It always takes time to fit the new guys in and find the right systems to bring the best out of everyone.

“We’ve certainly got a lot more to give, but six points out of six is something to build on.

“Bracknell are a good team and beating them was a pleasing way to start, while Streatham and MK Thunder will prove to be a couple of the better sides who were in the NIHL last season.

“Our experience and quality has shone through in all three games and we need to continue getting the job done.

“We certainly don’t want to disrespect any team, but Cardiff are probably the side that people expect to be propping up the league.

“But there is no room for complacency. If we’re not ready to play, they will be in a position to take us the full distance.

“We’re expecting to be up there challenging for a league title and it’s good to already be sitting at the top of the league.

“Now it is a case to keep ticking off the wins and make it hard for other teams to catch us.

“Three from three is pleasing, but five from five would be better and that’s the target this weekend.”

Weldon has been named as one of the two alternate captains for Phantoms this season. The 24 year-old has become a permanent fixture at Planet Ice after already completing six full seasons with the city club.

“It’s a big honour to wear the ‘A’,” added Weldon. “I’m only 24, but I’m one of the more experienced guys on a roster with a lot of young players. To be honest, we have plenty of guys without a letter on the shirt doing the same job. There are plenty of leaders in the room.”