Swindon win can spark another winning streak
Player-coach Tom Norton wants Phantoms to put together another terrific winning streak.
The city team reeled off 11 consecutive victories in all competitions before suffering a surprise slip-up last Saturday night.
Phantoms were beaten 6-3 by London Raiders at Planet Ice – a result which provided a first loss in NIHL Division One South as well as a first home reverse of the campaign.
But they bounced back to winning ways only 24 hours later with a fine 5-4 success at Swindon to preserve their position at the summit of the sport’s new second tier.
“Disappointing as it was to lose against London, there won’t have been many times a Phantoms team has won 11 games in a row,” said Norton.
“We had 46 shots on their goal and their netminder played superbly, so full credit to them for the win.
“It felt like they were fading when we got back to 3-3 in the final period, but they got another lease of life and came at us again.
“I’m sure it wasn’t the game where people expected our streak to end, but it gave us a little bit of a shock to the system which was probably needed.
“We were all deeply disappointed to lose that game, but we have learned from it and responded in the right way with a great result in Swindon.
“On paper I’d put Swindon down as the best team in the league, but we all know that doesn’t always translate to the ice.
“They will still be in the hunt for trophies and taking four points off them already is very pleasing.
“Hopefully it can be the start of another winning streak for us. We want to build up another run, especially in the league.”
While playing duties remain his priority, Norton is enjoying the opportunity to cut his teeth in a coaching capacity as well.
Although the 27 year-old admits he was not entirely sure that head coach Slava Koulikov was being serious when first offering him the role.
Norton added: “I’m finding it good. It’s a chance for me to progress by learning from one of the best up and coming coaches in the country.
“Contributing on the ice is still my main focus, but hopefully the bits I’m contributing in a coaching capacity are worthwhile.
“I kind of laughed at Slava when he first mentioned it, but then I realised he was being serious.
“It was an honour to even be asked the question and I was delighted to accept.
“Coaching is not necessarily a path I’ve given much thought to taking at 27, but it’s only going to beneficial for me.”