After a frustrating few weeks, Phantoms goalie Ryan Bainborough is pleased to be back from injury and between the pipes.

Bainborough suffered a groin tear in the third period of a very good performance in Bracknell in early November, which has kept him out of action for a number of weeks. Bainborough had made 31 saves and was on a save percentage of over 93% when he was forced off through injury. But, now he’s back, he’s glad to be getting more time on the ice. 

“I’m extremely pleased. The plan was to play more this year anyway, but a groin tear kept me out for over two months so to come back and play well is nice and I’ve worked hard on rehab so to be fit now is a relief!” Bainborough said. 

He played the full 60 minutes against Leeds on Saturday as the Phantoms ran out 6-3 winners. It was the Phantoms’ second game of three in four days and Bainborough was pleased the team managed to fight through the fatigue and pick up the two points.

“It was a bit of a strange game on Saturday, but Leeds are no easy team and there’s no givens in this league, they showed they can beat anyone beating Telford Sunday. But they played a good game Saturday they seemed to have more depth in the line-up this time and played a lot more structured. They will continue to pick up points and wins against people this season. I think we played ok and we got the job done, may have been a bit of mental fatigue from playing a tough on the Thursday and most guys were back to work on the Friday. A win is a win at the end of the day.” Said the Phantoms goalie. 

Bainborough was back in action after 32:12 of Sunday’s game against the Sheffield Steeldogs. Phantoms were 4-2 down at the time but mounted a comeback which saw Slava’s side complete a four-point weekend with a 6-5 win. Bainborough faced 17 shots, conceding once, finishing on a save percentage of 94.12%. 

“Sunday was also slightly strange in the fact that we weren’t playing a bad game by any means, but Sheffield came out more aggressive than we’ve seen from them and they were playing well. Sometimes you just need to try and change something. It’s never easy coming in cold but as long as I give the boys a chance to win when I’m out there, regardless of the game, that’s the main aim. And again, we found a way to win, and after three games in four days, to win all three is a fitting reflection of the character and hard work from everyone.” Said the Phantoms #44 

With the Phantoms looking like three games in four days may have taken its toll, Nathan and Conor Pollard went on a shift which seemed to spark the rest of the team back into life. On the following shift, the Phantoms scored, and the Pollard brothers earned plenty of praise from Slava Koulikov. Bainborough was pleased with the reaction of the team, which allowed them to pull off another victory. 

“It’s all a bit of a blur when I’m playing, I just focus on the shots and don’t pay much attention to who’s on the ice to be honest! But those two lads have been working so hard all year and they always give that sort of performance; they never give up regardless of the score. But everyone in the team showed terrific grit and it was 4-4 before I’d had to make a save, so we certainly found our stride and never gave up against a hard-working team.” Bainborough said. 

And Bainborough believes Thursday’s result and fantastic performance in the National Cup Semi-Final first leg against Hull, was the catalyst for a very positive weekend for the Phantoms. 

“Every cup game is a tough one and there’s always that extra gear found by both teams. And we certainly gave it our all on Thursday and played our best hockey and we were really pleased to go into Hull and get that result. We had good momentum going in the weekend and we got it done. No game is easy in this league, so we always know it’ll be a battle and we didn’t give up all weekend. We showed our character and desire over the three games and we are in a great spot in the semi-final and to push on the league.” Bainborough said. 

With Bainborough now back fit, on the ice and in good form, he knows what he wants to achieve for the rest of the season. 

“My aim at the start of the year was to play as many games as I can, and certainly during a busy schedule to give Marrsy a rest is important and as long as I give the team a chance to win when I’m in that’s the main thing, so to continue with that is the goal up until the end of the year.” Said Bainborough.