Week 5 of the 2016/17 English Premier League season saw the Phantoms drop from their .5 average, although they did claim one point during the weekend. The games away in Swindon on Saturday and home to Sheffield on Sunday both saw teams take an early lead before being pegged back.
The curse of the early goal struck on Saturday as Jonas Hoog gave the Wildcats the lead after just 10 seconds of the game in Swindon. Tomasz Malasinski then doubled the home team’s advantage after 5 minutes with a Powerplay strike after Tom Stubley had been called on a tripping penalty.
With Max Birbraer sitting a 2+10 minute penalty for a check to the head, and Floyd Taylor joining him for a Delay of Game call, the Phantoms opened their account when Martin Susters converted the pass from Darius Pliskauskas.
The second period was just 3 minutes old when Neil Liddiard was called for a Holding penalty and the Phantoms took advantage of the extra man to level the game just 30 seconds into the Powerplay as Wehebe Darge fired past Stevie Lyle in the Swindon goal.
Late in the period former Wildcat Owen Griffiths gave the visitors the lead with the Phantoms 3rd unanswered goal of the game.
The final period saw the home side come out and dominate the play, outshooting the Phantoms by 15 shots to 4.
Aaron Nell tied the game just a minute after the restart. Jan Kostal netted his first of the night 5 minutes later as the home side regained their lead.
Much as the Phantoms pushed forward they hit a brick wall each time they found themselves in the Swindon zone. As the clock ticked down Sam Bullas netted the Fifth Swindon goal with under 8 minutes of the game remaining to close out the scoring.
On Sunday it was to be the Phantoms who raced into an early lead before being pegged back, as they took on the Sheffield Steeldogs.
The game was just 48 seconds old when, Phantoms top scorer, Marc Levers fired past James Hadfield on the Phantoms first attack of the game.
A minute later and Ales Padelek listed the puck over Hadfield to double the lead in what looked like could turn out to be a cricket score. Padelek netted his second of the night on 3.47 before a cheeky shot from behind the goal by James Ferrara on 4.26 bounced off Hadfield’s skate and found its way to the back of the net.
Four goals in the opening 5 minutes had the visitors stunned and the home fans watching on is disbelief.
On 5.50 the Steeldogs opened their account when the impressive Liam Kirk robbed the puck from Owen Griffiths just inside the Phantoms blue line and burst through to shoot low past Adam Long.
Andrew Hirst halved the deficit on 15 minutes after teaming up with Tomas Brcko to make it a 4-2 game at the first interval.
A goalless middle period saw both teams have chances but James Hadfield and Adam Long were both having a good game between the pipes to deny each set of forwards.
The final period started with the Phantoms losing James Archer after just 14 seconds when he was adjudged a Check to the Head penalty by referee Stefan Hogarth. Phantoms defended well during the 5 minute powerplay, but just as it was nearing the end Cole Shudra score Steeldog 3rd goal of the night to make it a one-goal game.
Phantoms pushed forward for their 5th goal but despite Weldon and Stepanek coming close on the breakaways, it was the Steeldogs who stunned everyone with the game leveller on 57 minutes. Kirk found Lithuanian International Arnoldas Bosas on the blue line and his slapshot flew through traffic and into the back of the net.
Both teams had chances during overtime but a pivotal moment came with a minute remaining when Phantoms Petr Stepanek was called on an Elbows penalty. The penalty was to rule Stepanek out of any penalty shootout.
Round One of the penalty shootout saw both Liam Kirk and Ales Padelek find the back of the net.
Round Two saw Cole Shudra core for the Steeldogs whilst Darius Pliskauskas shot was saved by Hadfield.
Round Three saw Adam Long padsave Arnoldas Bosas. There was a long wait for Wehebe Darge to take his shot as the officials noted he wasn’t on the original list of penalty takers, but then realised he was replacing Stepanek who was in the box. Darge raced down the ice, but his shot was saved by Hadfield to hand the visitors the extra point.