Sunday evening saw the Billingham Stars travel to Peterborough to face the DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms in their EPL Cup match-up.
When the fixtures were originally announced the Stars were due to have this weekend off, and so let both netminders have time away over Christmas, so it was Phantoms Under 18 netminder, Josh Wicks, who was in goal for the visitors.
As with previous EPL Cup games, the Phantoms used the game to give the youngsters a run-out, with Edgars Apelis the only import ising for the Phantoms. The game did see the return of Slava Koulikov who used the match to see how his recently broken wrist was recovering. Phantoms stars, watching from the stands included James Hutchinson, Marc Levers, Darius Pliskauskas, James Ferrara, Milan Baranyk, Janis Auzins, Edgars Bebris and Alan Lack.
The Phantoms started the game the stronger with Edgars Apelis hitting the post early on. On 6.48 the Phantoms netted their opening goal as Martins Susters scored his first senior home goal of his career after a nice build up from Scott Robson.
The visitors showed they weren;t here just to make up the numbers when they made their powerplay pay after 9 minutes as Paul Windridge finished off a nice move started by Tom Stuart-Dant to draw the visitors level.
From the Face-off, the Phantoms controlled the puck and Slava Koulikov sent a nice pass to Luke Ferrara to allow the Phantoms youngster to net his first of the night to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead.
With the Phantoms controlling the possession it was no surprise when they extended their lead before the first period buzzer. Will Weldon found the back of the net after 15 minutes and then it was Luke Ferrara who netted his second of the night on 17.25 to give the Phantoms a 4-1 lead at the opening break.
The second period saw the Phantoms extend their lead when Martins Susters got the puck to Tom Norton whose backhand spinorama saw the puck fly into the top corner of the net.
A minute later and Stars import forward, Tom Stuart-Dant shot high over Dan Lanes glove to draw one back for the visitors and make it 5-2. Stuart-Dant then scored his second of the night on 36 minutes after some nice work on the boards behind the goal by Ben Davison and Matthew Campbell found him unmarked at the backpost to make it 5-3.
With just 7 seconds of the period remaining Luke Ferrara netted his hatrick goal to make it 6-3 at the second break.
The final period saw the Phantoms give the youngsters more ice time as they rested their top lines. Will Weldon made it 7-3 after just 19 seonds of the period. Some good work by Greg Pick setup Brad Moore to score number 8 and it was left to Nathan Pollard to score the final goal of the game at 53.57 to make it 9-3 at the end of the day.
Former Phantom Andy Munroe collected the Man of the Match beers for the Stars, whilst Martins Susters picked up the award for the Phantoms.