Coming off a midweek loss to current EPL leaders the MK Lightning midweek the Phoenix looked to get back on track with a double home weekend against the Phantoms and the Hull Pirates. The Phantoms, lead by last years deserved EPL coach of the year Slava Koulikov, were one of the hardest working EPL sides last year, well drilled and hard to break down. Janis Ozins in goal one of the standout performers of the 2014/15 season....depending on his mood!
The game also saw the return of Stan Gron to the Phoenix roster, a welcome addition to the Phoenix lines and an opportune boost to the attacking options on the ice. Of course it mean saying good bye to Jan Platil who came to the Phoenix after being released by the Hull Pirates. Platil iced 5 games for the Phoenix picking up two assists along the way. While not an outstanding import D man, Platil was able to come in a do a job for the Phoenix at late notice. Did not look out of place on the blue line and brought a good amount of size to the Phoenix blue line. Thank you Jan and good look in your future career.
First Period: The game got underway and the Phantoms began to control the puck in the early stages. Once again this Peterborough team is a tough nut to crack, they work hard in their own zone and use a high forecheck which makes it difficult for the opposition to gain their zone. Despite this the first scoring chance fell to the Phoenix when James Archer rung the post early in the game. The visitors would, however, be the first to light the lamp when James Ferrara deflected a Milan Baranyk shot at 13min 34sec. A superb goal to be fair! That lead lasted 4 minutes as the home side levelled after sustained pressure on Ozins goal. Michal Satek continuing his fine goalscoring form scoring after a pass from Robin Kovar timed at 17min 44sec.
Second Period: The Phantoms upped the pressure in the second period and the Phoenix began to creak. Peterborough re-took the lead minutes in when Craig Scott emerged from behind Fone's net to score a back handed goal at 24min 29sec. Just over a minute later things went from bad to worse for the Phoenix when Ales Padalek extended the Phantoms lead at 25min 51sec. Phoenix were really struggling at this point, 1) to keep hold of the puck and 2) to remain structured in their defence. No surprise then when the Phantoms made it 4-1 when Will Weldon scored for the visitors. No surprise, at this point the Phoenix called a time out to re-group. The short break doing some good and the Phoenix reduced the defuicit when Satek scored once again when he picked up a rebound from a Kovar shot, that goal coming at 32min 09sec. The deficit was almost reduced again in the dying seconds of the powerplay as Satek raced clear on a breakaway only to be denied by Ozins.
Third Period: The Phantoms played a great third period in Deeside, up by two goals they switched to play a perfect road game. With the goals in hand they were able to soak up the Phoenix pressure allowing the home side's short bench to tire while hitting them on the break. The period was mainly filled with penalties, mainly to the Phantoms. This gave the Phoenix a few powerplay opportunities which, the home side could not capitalise on. As the game entered its final 5 minutes the Phantoms were able to secure the win with one final goal coming from Lloyd Gibson at 55min 08sec.
Verdict: A poor second period from the Phoenix effectively lost the game this time. A competitive first period and the first half of the third was not enough to beat, possibly, the best side to have come to Deeside so far this season. Koulikov was worked his magic once again this season and the Phantoms will be challenging at the top of the EPL. For the Phoenix, a tough loss to take, with the short bench and injuries really taking its toll its difficult to see the sunshine at the moment. One thing is certain though, this Phoenix team will never give up no matter the situation!