Peterborough Phantoms 1-1 Basingstoke Bison
The NIHL1 South Britton Conference Playoff Final remains in the balance after the first leg in Peterborough on Saturday night. It was a game of many chances, but few goals as both goalies were named man of the match for their respective teams.
Leigh Jamieson had the game’s first chance, but his shot from the middle of the offensive zone arrowed narrowly wide of Dean Skinns’ net, and the Bison goalie was on hand to gather the rebound.
Ivan Antonov then went on the attack for the Bison, but Ben Russell expertly blocked his wrist shot from the left wing.
Tomas Karpov had the Bison’s next good chance, but saw his shot fly wide of the Phantoms goal. Stuart Mogg also went close for the visitors with a looping effort from the blue line, but it didn’t find the back of Euan King’s net.
Ales Padelek was the next to try his luck, but his huge left wing slap shot lasered over the top of the Bison goal.
The second period began with Phantoms on the attack, and the hosts came close again when Will Weldon played a drop pass to Jamieson, whose slapshot was saved by Skinns.
Nathan Salem found time and space to get a shot away, but Skinns stood strong to deny him, and poked the puck away before Glenn Billing was able to capitalise on the rebound.
The Bison then began to pile on the pressure, but Phantoms weathered the storm and the match went back to being an end to end game.
Scott Robson took matters into his own hands with just under half an hour played, as he went coast to coast with the puck on his tape, before finding Nathan Pollard at the back door. Pollard’s shot was goal bound, but Skinns came up with an outstanding save to keep the scores tied at zero.
It was the visitors who eventually took the lead, when Karpov found a way past King with a backhanded effort.
Phantoms hit back with two good chances of their own, but James Ferrara then Salem were denied by Skinns.
The Bison thought they had doubled their advantage before the end of the second period, but referee Tim Pickett ruled out the goal.
The first chance of the third period went the way of the Phantoms, when Weldon dispossessed the Bison defenceman on the blue line, and went in on a breakaway, but his shot was saved.
There was then a scramble in front of the Bison net, but Salem couldn’t force the puck into the unguarded goal.
Salem got his name on the scoresheet with an unassisted goal with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
So the teams go into the second leg in Basingstoke all square, and it’s all to play for in the NIHL1 South Britton Conference Playoff Final!
At the end of the game, the Phantoms took part in their annual parade around the ice pad to thank the fans for their support on the last home game of the season. The parade was lead by retiring defence man Greg Pick, this lead to an emotional fair well for the defence man that has spent the last 5 seasons with the Phantoms.
54:55: #91 Nathan Salem (unassisted)
31:33: #44 Tomas Karpov / #27 Josh Smith / #7 Kurt Reynolds (EHG)
Phantoms man of the match: #92 Euan King
Bison man of the match: #45 Dean Skinns
By Tom Lea