All the info you need to know ahead of the Phantoms’ trip to Hull in the NIHL National Cup Semi-Final first leg.
Slava Koulikov is hoping to have the vast majority of his team available for Thursday’s trip to Hull. Gareth O’Flaherty will miss out through injury, but Koulikov is hopeful the rest of his squad will be fit and ready for the first leg of the cup semi-final.
Tom Norton could come back into the Phantoms line up. The Phantoms are waiting on the final clearance from the physios and, should they get it, Norton will play.
Jordan Marr is expected to return between the pipes after Ryan Bainborough’s man of the match showing against Bracknell on Sunday night.
The Pirates have suffered similar injury problems to the Phantoms so far this season but are starting to get players back in their team. Matty Davies returned to the line-up last week after missing most of the season so far through injury.
Hull took the decision to release import forward, Peter Fabus, from his contract, and replace him with former Elite League man, Matt Bissonnette. 27-year-old Bissonnette collected 29 points in 39 EIHL games for the Dundee Stars last season and has also iced for the Manchester Storm and Belfast Giants.
Jason Hewitt, Lee Bonner and Bobby Chamberlain have been in fine form so far this season, with 180 points between them.
The Pirates were without Lee Haywood, Marcus Neil, Aaron Smith, Kevin Phillips and Josh Gent at the weekend and it is not yet known whether any of them will return for the clash with the Phantoms.
I don’t think the players need to do anything differently to last year. The preparation on the ice and mentally should be the same. From a coach’s perspective, it’s a bit different because of injuries this year. We didn’t have many injuries last year so the tactics were set but we’re having to tweak a few things on a weekly basis this year.
It’s never an easy game for Hull when we’re there, it’ll come down to little details. We’ve spoken about a few things and about how to play on the big ice. Their offence will always create chances, so it’s about how we play to make sure that we don’t give them any extra chances they didn’t have to earn. They’re always good games in Hull from both perspectives and we just have to be ready to play our hockey. We need to stick to then plan, prepare properly, have accountability and a want to win attitude, play our game and leave everything out there. Do that, and there’s a chance of a positive result.
We all play for each other, it’s a team sport. If we can get an extra 3-5% from the boys because it’s Jimmy’s last year then that would be good. We need to lay everything on the line and if the motivation to play for the captain, the jersey and our fans brings that then we’ll stand ourselves in good stead.
If you’d like to travel to Hull on Thursday to support the Phantoms, please email email@example.com for more information and to book your place on the bus. Doors will open at 6:30pm with face off at 7:30pm.
Match tickets will be available from the box office at Hull Arena, priced at £6.
If you can’t make it to the game, full match updates will be on the Phantoms Twitter account, @GoPhantoms.