The Phantoms complete their run of three games in four days with weekend fixtures against the Leeds Chiefs and Sheffield Steeldogs.
PHANTOMS TEAM NEWS
Gareth O’Flaherty remains out through injury, but Slava Koulikov is hopeful to have the rest of his roster available for the weekend’s games.
Jarvis Hunt will come back into the lineup after missing Thursday night due to school commitments.
Ryan Bainborough is expected to feature in one of the games this week. The Phantoms #44 is back fully fit and available to feature more for the Phantoms in the remainder for the season. He put in an impressive display away in Bracknell last Sunday and earned himself the man of the match award.
The Chiefs have had a difficult first season for many reasons. They’ve played the whole season so far on the road and have been hit by a number of player departures. But, with a move into their new rink edging closer, Sam Zajac has reason to be positive about the future.
Patrik Valcak will make his first appearance against the Phantoms since signing for the Chiefs. The former Manchester Storm import last played in 2017/18 for the Dubai Mighty Eagles in the United Arab Emirates league, where he picked up 36 points in 12 games. He has two assists in two games for the Chiefs so far.
Lewis Houston has made a positive impact on the Chiefs since his arrival from the Solway Sharks. The former GB U18 International has five goals and one assist in 11 games for the Chiefs so far, including a hat-trick against the Raiders 12 days ago.
Sam Gospel will likely be the backstop for Sam Zajac’s side. The Nottingham Panthers goalie has had the majority of the ice time for the Chiefs this season, with Miles Finney backing him up.
Sam Zajac brings vast experience to the Chiefs line up, but it is his first Head Coach role. The former Elite League defenceman and his team have had a tough first year as a team, but Zajac is confident the future will be bright.
Zajac told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “as soon as we get in that rink and get another couple of guys in, get guys back from injury, then all the excuses will be gone and it will then be a case of saying: ‘Right, now show us what you’ve got’.”
The Sheffield Steeldogs currently sit in 7th place, one point behind the Hull Pirates and Milton Keynes Lightning. They came flying out of the blocks at the start of the year, but their form has been more inconsistent of late.
Dmitri Zimozdra is likely to start between the pipes for the Dogs. The 31-year-old is having another solid season for the Steeldogs, with a save percentage of 90.26% in the league.
Nathan Salem is still out for the Steeldogs. He started the season in fine form with 33 points in 19 games. Kieran Brown is also out through injury; the Steelers youngster also had 33 points to his name before picking up a knock.
Vladimir Luka is the top scorer for the Steeldogs this season. The 37-year-old Czech forward has 42 points in 32 games, made up of 24 goals and 18 assists. He hasn’t yet scored against the Phantoms, though, in the two matches between the sides so far this season.
Ben Morgan is well on his way to being considered a legend in Sheffield. He’s in his ninth consecutive year as a player with the Steeldogs and his third year as the player-coach. The defenceman played for the Scimitars before the Steeldogs and has also featured for the Steelers.
When things like the delay in opening the rink happen, it shows in the performances of the team, it would happen to anyone. On a good day, they (Leeds) can beat anyone, you don’t need to go that far back to when they had two games in two days in Basingstoke and won both. The quicker they get in their rink, settle down and get the fans behind them, they’ll be more consistent.
For us, after playing in Hull on Thursday, it’s nice to have two games on home ice, so that works in our advantage and we’ll be looking to get the four points this weekend.
We went 4-0 up really early against Sheffield at home last time, but after that, it wasn’t the best performance from us. It’s another team looking to get into the top half of the table and the third game in four days for us, so we have to be at our best. Both games this weekend will be really important to keep in the top 4 and move forward positively.
Both games this week will take place at Planet Ice, Peterborough. Saturday’s game faces off at 7 pm, with Sunday’s fixture starting at 5:30 pm.
If you are unable to attend either game, full match updates will be found on Twitter, @GoPhantoms.
For tickets to Sunday’s game against the Steeldogs, click HERE, or purchase them from the Planet Ice Box Office upon arrival at the rink.
MATCH NIGHT COMPETITIONS
50/50 tickets are £1 for 1, £2 for 3 or £5 for 10. To be entered into the draw to take part in Puck It, simply purchase £5 worth of 50/50 tickets and you’ll be in with a chance of taking part!
This week’s (Sunday) ‘shirt off your back’ is #88 Conor Pollard. Tickets are £1 for 1, £2 for 3 and £5 for 10. Be sure to see one of our ticket sellers to be in with a chance to win!