The DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms travelled North to the Billingham Forum to face the Billingham Stars on Sunday evening in their EPL Cup clash. The Phantoms were leading 2-1 early in the final period when the game was called off after a serious injury to Phantoms Captain on the night, Marc Levers.
The match had been end-to-end, with either side capable of winning, when Phantoms’ Marc Levers came together with Billingham’s Michael Elder on the blue line, the Peterborough man connecting with Elder’s shoulder and appearing to fall unconscious to the ice. The fall caused some trauma to the back of Lever’s head and he was immediately surrounded by players, physios and officials who combined to control the obvious bleeding and stabilise him as they awaited medical help. The decision was quickly taken to abandon the game with Levers unable to leave the ice. Fortunately once the paramedics arrived, they were able to help Levers to his feet and escort him to hospital, where he underwent a precautionary MRI scan.
The opening two periods had seen both sets of fans entertained by an end to end game. The Phantoms were icing a fully British squad, with a number of prospect players in the team, alongside Callum Worthington-Evans who received his first call up from the ENL Islanders. The home side were missing former Phantoms Michael Bowman aswell as regulars Jack Davies, Garry Dowd and Jamie Pattison.
Billingham started brightly and went ahead for the first time in the Cup competition in the fourth minute, Chris Sykes working hard to keep the puck in the attacking zone before setting up Thomas Stuart-Dant whose low shot beat Dan Lane. Billingham had a chance to dfouble their lead on 7 minutes when Ben Davison almost forced the puck under Lane’s pads as the Phantoms started off on the back foot.
Phantoms levelled against the run of play in the 14th minute. Stars netminder Mark Watson pulled off a great save from Jason Buckman, but couldn’t hold onto the puck and Martins Susters fired home the rebound for his first Senior EPL Goal. The goal galvanised the Phantoms who hit the post two minutes later, and only a fine save from Watson with just over a minute to go ensured the teams went into the dressing rooms level at the end of the first.
The second period saw the Phantoms slowly start to get into the game and they took the lead in the 26th minute of the game. Watson came out of his net to clear the puck and somehow lost his stick in the process, giving Alan Lack an easy tap in. The goal saw the Stars heads drop but despite a number of chances the Phantoms couldn’t take the advantage and the period ended with the Phantoms holding a 2-1 lead.
The pivotal moment of the match happened just 1.51 into the third period. As over half of the game had been played, the result will stand at 1-2 with no replay required.