Saturday saw the DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms travel to Hampshire to face the Basingstoke Bison.
It was the homeside who took the early lead on the Powerplay. James Hutchinson was called for a High Stick and the Bison Powerplay unit took advantage as Miroslav Vantroba played a nice pass to Ciaran LOng whose shot was tipped past Janis Auzins by Doug Sheppard with just 01:01 on the clock.
There was an almost immediate response from the Phantoms as Darius Pliskauskas rang a shot off the crossbar and when Andy Melachrino was sent to the box for charging, the powerplay saw the Lithuanian have another good shot that was saved down low by Skinns.
Pliskauskas finally found a way past Skinns on 8.58 when a Phantoms 5-on-3 powerplay saw Tom Norton get thje pass to Pliskauskas who fired through traffic and past the insighted SKinns.
Phantoms doubled their advantage just 3 minutes later. Edgars Apelis hammered the puck into the zone and it went close to Skinns’ left post and off of the endboards. As Skinns dropped down to cover the angle, everyone lost sight of the puck, apart from Alan Lack. The puck had stopped just behind Skinns and was sitting right on the line by the post and Lack raced in and poked the puck over the line at 11:48 for the 2-1 Phantoms lead.
The Phantoms’ gameplan wasn’t complicated but was frustrating the Bison who were starting to look lost as nothing they tried seemed to work. A bad outlet pass put the puck onto the stick of Milan Baranyk who fed Edgars Bebris but the touch Bebris needed to get the puck out of his skates allowed Skinns to get into the proper position to make the save.
The Phantoms were putting the pressure on and were having more of the chances. Another poor turnover from the Bison gave the puck to James Ferrara who was in acres of space to advance on Dean Skinns. Ferrara made a move and drew Skinns down and appeared to have poked it home but it was sat on the line once again and Tom Norton followed up and got the final touch over the line at 33:11 for 3-1.
The Bison needed a response and the Phantoms seemed to be giving them a chance when a mistimed hit from Cam McGiffin on Grant Rounding followed by Milan Baranyk being called for tripping gave the Bison a 5 on 3 powerplay. The Phantoms were made to pay as Vantroba, the Slovak fed the puck to Tomas Karpov who walked into the slot and slammed the puck past Auzins at 36:18 to make it 3-2.
Poor defending from the Bison gifted the Phantoms withr 4th goal of the night. With all of the Bison players bunched into one corner and slick passing from Pliskauskas found Tom Norton who found an unmarked James Ferrara fire past Skinns.
The final period saw both teams looking for a goal. Some poor Bison play gave Marc Levers the chance to break out but Skinns blockered his shot into the netting. Joe Baird’s shot at the other end was blocked by a diving Phantoms d-man but the puck fell to Kurt Reynolds whose shot was tipped in front of Auzins but not enough to cause any danger.
With the game into the last three minutes there was a coming together behind Skinns’ net as the teams battled for the puck. Out of nowhere the gloves were off between Mason Webster and Miroslav Vantroba though it wasn’t much of a proper fight. Both players were given 2+2 roughing penalties and Vantroba also picked up a match penalty for buttending.
As the clock ran out the Phantoms claimed a well earned 4-2 victory on the road.
Man of the Match awards went to Joe Rand for the Bison and Janis Auzins for the Phantoms