The DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms made the trip to Buckinghamshire to face their local rivals the Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday evening. As well as the Phantoms long term injured players they were also missing Greg Pick (Suspended) and Luke Ferrara (Injured) for the clash.
In front of a large crowd, bolstered by the large number of travelling Phantoms fans, it was the homeside who came out the stronger of the two teams. Lightning took the lead after just 6 minutes when Adam Carr fed Milan Kostourek to fire past Janis Auzins in the Phantoms net.
Five minutes later and the homeside were cruising as they went two-up when veteran Curtis Huppe converted Petr Horava’s pass.
If the Lightning thought it was going to be an easy game, they were brought back down to earth with a bump as the Phantoms netted twice past former Phantom Stephen Wall in a 30 second spell.
With Slava Koulikov sitting a Tripping call, the Phantoms penalty kill unit netted their first of the night on 16.55 when Janis Auzins played the puck to the in-form Edgars Bebris, who left the Lightning flatfooted as he skated through and scored.
Then, just as Koulikovs penalty had expired Donotas Kumeliauskas picked out Tom Norton who levelled the game going onto the first break.
The second period saw both teams battling for the upper hand, as the crowd got behind both sides. When the Lightning were called for a Too Many Men penalty on 23.32 it was the turn of the Milton Keynes penalty kill unit to score a shorthanded goal as former Phantoms prodigy Lewis Hook found Milan Kostourek who netted his second of the night on 24.19.
Milan Baranyk and James Ferrara both forced Wall to pull of some great saves, whilst at the other end of the ice Janis Auzins was kept busy denying Milan Kostourek who was well on his way to earning a Man of the Match award.
Phantoms quickly levelled the game just 55 seconds after the start of the final period. Baranyk found Bebris who made no mistake this time in netting his second of the game to tie the game at 3 a piece.
Whilst the Phantoms started the period the stronger, the shortbench was always going to be an issue on the larger icepad and Lightning regained the lead on 49.56 as Kostourek netted his hatrick goal.
Phantoms kept pushing forward, and with the clock running down they pulled netminder Janis Auzins in favout of the extra skater, as they looked for the equaliser. With just 15 seconds of the game left, Curtis Huppe picked up the puck from Blaz Emersic before sending it down the ice and into the empty net to give the Lightning the 5-3 victory.
Man of the Match awards went to Milan Kostourek for the Lightning and Janis Auzins for the Phantoms.