The Waldeck Peterborough Phantoms got up and running in the NIHL National by scoring ten goals in a good win over the Bristol Pitbulls. Luke Ferrara and Lukas Sladkovsky were the stars of the show as both netted hat-tricks in Phantoms’ first league win of the season.

Slava Koulikov’s side got off to a flyer, when Brad Bowering found Sladkovsky on the back door and he applied the finishing touch with ease. Ferrara then got his night up and running, releasing an unstoppable slap shot into the top corner from the right circle. It was three just a minute and a half later as Ferrara once again was credited with the goal, but this one went in off a Pitbulls defenceman.

Bristol hit back on 15:22 as Sam Smith floated the puck on net from the blue line and it found its way into the Phantoms goal.

But that didn’t get Phantoms down and they restored their three-goal lead just over a minute later as Sladkovsky picked up his second of the night from the top of the crease.

Ales Padelek and Duncan Speirs then teamed up to create a big chance, but the latter’s shot went wide. Despite the advantage, the next goal felt key for both teams and it was the Phantoms who got it. Martins Susters joined in on the scoring with a one timer from the right circle to make it 5-1. And Susters added his second around three minutes later by going bar down after producing a lovely toe-drag through the left circle.

Tom Norton made it seven with 38:13 played as he floated one in from the blue line. Tyler De La Bertouche replaced Jordan Marr in the Phantoms goal for the third period.

Phantoms fans will have become accustomed to seeing Ralfs Circenis scoring from the right circle in a Phantoms jersey after the 2022/23 season, but he found a way past his old club for his new employers to cut the Phantoms lead down to 7-2.

Ferrara then must have thought he’d completed his hat-trick after he linked up well with Speirs, but his shot was saved brilliantly by Pitbulls goalie, Ben Norton. But with 46:13 played, Ferrara did grab his third of the night, finishing low past Norton on a short-handed breakaway after being sent though by Padelek. With ten goals already shared, it was the Pitbulls who found the eleventh, as Reece Cochrane found the net from the blue line to make it 8-3 Phantoms.

But under a minute later, Sladkovsky completed his own hat-trick to continue his impressive scoring start to the new season. Padelek added his own name to the scoresheet with a lovely finish to notch Phantoms’ tenth, a goal which prompted the Pitbulls to replace Ben Norton with Matt Smital for what remained of the game.

Ed Bradley grabbed the fourteenth and final goal of the game on the powerplay, but the Phantoms comfortably took their first win of the 2023/24 NIHL National season.

2:51 (PP 1-0 BP): #91 Sladkovsky / #23 Bowering (EHG)
9:24 (PP 2-0 BP): #19 Ferrara / #93 Padelek / #45 Buglass (EHG)
11:54 (PP 3-0 BP): #19 Ferrara / #93 Padelek (EHG)
16:45 (PP 4-1 BP): #91 Sladkovsky / #77 Susters / #25 Thorpe (EHG)
29:46 (PP 5-1 BP): #77 Susters / #23 Bowering / #91 Sladkovsky (PPG)
32:25 (PP 6-1 BP): #77 Susters / #91 Sladkovsky / #11 Robson (EHG)
38:13 (PP 7-1 BP): #2 Norton/ #38 Speirs / #19 Ferrara (EHG)
46:13 (PP 8-2 BP): #19 Ferrara / #93 Padelek (SHG)
47:21 (PP 9-3 BP): #91 Sladkovsky / #96 Hunt / #77 Susters (EHG)
48:41 (PP 10-3 BP): #93 Padelek / #2 Norton / #19 Ferrara (EHG)

15:22 (PP 3-1 BP): #73 Smith / #17 Coric / #33 Circenis (EHG)
41:23 (PP 7-2 BP): #33 Circenis / #7 Bradley / #17 Coric (PPG)
46:32 (PP 8-3 BP): #51 Cochrane / #91 Lipsey / #11 Morris (PPG)
58:36 (PP 10-4 BP): #7 Bradley / #33 Circenis / #17 Coric (PPG)

Man of the Match
Phantoms: Luke Ferrara
Pitbulls: Jacob White-Sey

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