The DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms were clinical for two periods on Saturday evening as they beat the Guildford Flames 6-2 at the Peterborough Arena. A middle period lapse in concentration was the only negative on the night, but the Flames were unable to content with the current league leaders.
Phantoms welcomed back Cam McGiffin and Slava Koulikov, who had been in France with the Great Britain Under 20’s and had arrived back in Peterborough just an hour before the puck dropped.
Once that puck had dropped for the start of the game, the Phantoms needed just 90 seconds before they took the lead when Craig Scott fished out the puck from behind the Flames goal, and found Eddie Bebris who smashed the puck past Stephen Wall in the Flames goal.
Phantoms doubled their lead on 8 minutes when the hard working Ales Padelek’s pass found Milan Baranyk in front of net, and after having a number of previous opportunities saved by Wall he made sure this one would count.
As the Flames Plan A of playing skillful hockey fell apart, they reverted to Plan B which was to play a more aggressive game. Much as they tried they couldn’t put the Phantoms off their game, but you sensed something would spill over at some point. Late in the period a late challenge on Janis Auzins saw Greg Pick and Andrew McKinney trade a few blows and sit on 2+2 roughing calls.
The second period started well for the Phantoms when a Lloyd Gibson break on 22 minutes found Ales Padelek to make it a 3-0 game.
The Flames went back to their skillful gameplan and moved the puck around well, and having had a quiet opening period, Phantoms netminder Janis Auzins was now finding himself a lot busier.
Two quick goals late in the period could have proved the turning point in the game. On 35.29 Matic Kralj fired through traffic to pull a goal back for the visitors. Whilst the fans were still writing the goalscorer details in their matchnight programmes, the Flames scored again as McKinney turned from fighter to goalscorer on 36.45.
An equalising goal in the last few minutes of the period would have proved catastrophic for the Phantoms, but they held on to the interval, and a few strong words from the coaching team.
Phantoms started the final period with a point to prove, and they sent the flames an early message of intent. Just under 5 minutes into the period Eddie Bebris chased Flames Rupert Quiney behind the Flames goal and pit in a massive check on the 6′ 4″ D-Man. As Quiney crashed to the floor, Bebris picked up the puck and sent it straight to the stick of the on-rushing Craig Scott whose one timer looked as though it was going to rip through the Flames goal net.
With their 2 goal advantage restored the Phantoms moved up a gear and laid seige to the Flames goal. Their fifth of the night summed up the Flames luck in the final 20 minutes. Darius Pliskauskas picked up the puck at the farside of the Flames goal and looked to backhand it back in front of the goalmouth, but watched in disbelief as it looped over Stephen Wall and into the back of the net !
With the clock running down, it was left to Craig Scott to net the Phantoms 6th of the night, after being set free by an Eddie Bebris pass.
Man of the Match went to Flames Janis Ozolins and Phantoms Janis Auzins.
Phantoms Head Coach Slava Koulikov admitted after the game that they let their guard down in the middle period and it nearly cost them “We were magnificent in the first and third periods, but, if I want to find a negative, we had a lapse in the second period.
“We gave away two pretty poor goals due to not having the right defensive coverage, but we discussed it and put it right in the locker room.
“The guys came out in the final session and out-worked and out-played Guildford again to earn a big two points and increase our lead at the top of the table.
“I could go through the whole team from my netminder Janis Auzins to our development forwards like Martins Susters and Brad Moore, and every single guy was excellent tonight.”