The DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms and the Basingstoke Bison played out one of the best games the English Premier League has seen on Sunday evening. The game would eventually see the Phantoms run out 2-1 penalty winners, after trailing 1-0 with a second of regulation time remaining.
A scoreless opening period wasn’t devoid of action as both teams came out with a point to prove. The battle of the import netminders saw Bisons’ Tomas Hiadlovsky and Phantoms Janis Auzins both kept busy. It was Hiadlovsky who was facing the most rubber as the Bison hit penalty trouble and the Phantoms powerplay unit were camped in the Bison zone.
The second period saw the visitors penalty woes continue with a run of minor penalties, and the Phantoms forwards peppering the bison net.
It was the visitors who against the run of play took the lead on 29 minutes. A Scramble in front of the goal saw Auzins cover what he believed was the puck, but it squirmed under his body and Aaron Connolly was the first to react and tap it into the back of the goal.
Tom Norton came close late on to equalising when his shot from the top of the face-off circle ping’ed off the post with Hiadlovsky well beaten. Despite two more Phantoms powerplay, including a spell of 5-on-3 hockey, it was the Bison who took the slim lead into the second break.
The final 20 minutes saw the Phantoms continue to pile on the pressure, whilst the Bison were happy to hit on the breakaway. Hiadlovsky was making a good call for a Man of the Match award as the Phantoms outshot the visitors by a 3 to 1 ratio, but couldn’t find their way past the big netminder.
As the clock ran down it was going to take something special to prevent the Phantoms from losing this game. With a minute left Auzins was pulled in favour of the extra skater. As the game edged nearer to the final buzzer the Phantoms were camped in and around the bison goal. The home fans thought they had the equaliser with 3 seconds of the game left when a scramble in front of the goal saw a great pad save from Hiadlovsky.
3 seconds of the game left, and a Phantoms face-off to the left of the goal. This was their final chance to take something from a game they had dominated for 59 minutes. Ales Padelek won the face off, got the puck to Darius Pliskauskas and with 1 second of the game left the Lithaunian’s shot through traffic found the top corner of the net to send the Peterborough faithful into wild celebrations. The Bison players and bench protested that the buzzer had sounded but referee Matt Thompson, after consulting his linesmen disagreed, and the game was tied at 59.59.
A 5 minute period of 3-on-3 overtime saw both teams having to use their British skaters, and as with the previous 60 minutes both sides were equal to each other and with neither having a strong scoring chance the game went to penalty shots.
Tomas Karpov took the opening shot, and watched as Auzins blocked his low shot with his pads. Milan Baranyk was next up, but his shot went wide of Hiadlovsky’s net.
Next up for the Bison was Joe Rand, but again his low shot was pad saved by Auzins. Phantoms goal hero Darius Pliskauskas was next up. He skated in on Hiadlovsky before sending the puck into the Bison goal, orr the top crossbar in an almost identical position to his game levelling goal.
With the advantage now with the Phantoms, Ciaron Long knew he had to score to keep the game alive, but as he skated in he left it too late to lift the puck over the advancing Auzins and the Phantoms had the win.
End of 1st: Phantoms 0-0 Bison
Auzins: 6/0 Hiadlovsky 17/0
End of 2nd: Phantoms 0-1 Bison
Auzins: 11/1 Hiadlovsky 13/0
End of 3rd: Phantoms 1-1 Bison
Auzins: 5/0 Hiadlovsky: 18/1
End of Overtime: Phantoms 1-1 Bison
Auzins 2/0 Hiadlovsky 4/0
Man of the Match
Phantoms: Darius Pliskauskas
Bison: Tomas Hiadlovsky