This weekend will see the DALROD Peterborough Phantoms take on their local rivals the Milton Keynes Lightning in the Annual pre-season Ashes clash.
Saturdays Away leg of the Ashes (Face-Off 7pm) will see the Phantoms backed by their largest ever number of travelling supporters, when over 700 of the clubs fans are expected to make the journey to.. erm… Peterborough !!
With the Milton Keynes rink still being re-developed, this year will see both leg of the Ashes played at Planet Ice in Peterborough. Saturday is the Away Leg for the Phantoms, and the city club are handing over their rink to the Lightning. Lightning will run the night as their Home game, with their staff, their stewards and their DJ’s and announcers. It’s a move that shows a close working between the two local English Premier League Ice Hockey Clubs, but one which promises to be a strange experience for the two sets of supporters.
Twenty-Four Hours later and both sets of supporters and players will return to the North Bretton rink for the Phantoms Home leg, which face-off at 5.30pm.
Last season saw the Phantoms unable to defeat the Lightning, including a loss in last seasons Ashes clash. With Phantoms 6-3 Victory over the Elite Leagues Hull Stingrays, last weekend, and Milton Keynes mid-week loss to Swindon Windcats fresh in everyone’s minds it promises to be a great weekend of Hockey.
Speaking ahead of this weekends games, Phantoms Head Coach Slava Koulikov said “It is always good to start with a win – even more so after such a long lay-off and the fact we have nine new players on board. I think the fans got it all against Hull as there were lots of goals, some outstanding goaltending and a fight. We certainly didn’t play the best hockey and there is so much more for us to work on, but the accountability, determination and the willingness to go all the way to get the victory was very pleasing to see.
“The guys are gelling very well and the pre-season camp we had last week was a big help in that respect. It is now about continuing to progress our game ready for the start of the league season.”
He continued, “This is the first time myself and a lot of the players will have been involved in Ashes games, but we know how much they mean to the club and the fans, and of course we want to win them.
“Milton Keynes are a consistently strong team who almost always finish in the top four or five and we know it will be a tough weekend.”
Koulikov singled out new import netminder Janis Auzins for special praise in the wake of the opening night triumph over Hull.
The Latvian ace delivered a man-of-the-match display in his first appearance for the club just six days after arriving in the country, while defenceman Tom Norton also impressed on his return after a year away in the Elite League.
“For Janis to produce a performance like that after only landing in the country on the Monday and having three practice sessions was outstanding,” added Koulikov.
“He kept us in the game at times and is a young goalie who can improve more.”
Quotes provided by the Peterborough Evening Telegraph