Phantoms defenceman Nathan Long, sponsored by Holiday Inn, reflects on the weekends events after the Phantoms picked up one win and one loss across their two games.
Saturday saw the Phantoms lose 5-0 against the Swindon Wildcats. The Phantoms were missing Corey McEwen to injury and Conor Pollard to personal commitments, but Long believes it didn’t have an impact on the result.
“We always knew it would be a tough game against Swindon, especially in their rink. Looking back on the game, I think we battled hard, but things just didn’t go our way. The injuries we have didn’t play a part in my opinion. It’s nice to have the full squad available but we have a great system here at Peterborough where we can acquire players from the Phantoms 2 side if needed to keep the team at full strength. It was an even game 5 on 5 but our special teams played a lot of minutes and this made it difficult to get things going.” Nathan said.
The Basingstoke Bison travelled to Peterborough on Sunday evening as the Phantoms bounced back to win 5-1.
“Sunday’s game was a good bounce back for the team after a defeat the day before. We needed to start fast and hard to put them on the back foot. Getting the early goals put us in the driving seat. But with games against good teams, momentum changes and it’s how you react to get control of the game. I think we responded brilliantly and regained momentum and managed to slot more goals away to secure the win.” Said the Phantoms #97.
Tom Norton returned to the Phantoms as both a player and defence coach. Long was very complimentary of Norton’s coaching and his influence on the rest of the Phantoms defence.
“It’s great to be working with Norts. He always has time to answer any questions or help me and the other defenders to improve. His knowledge and experience is a massive asset to have on the team. He is a very vocal player and is always wanting more from us because he knows that we can always improve. Our defending is going to be crucial for our success this season.” Long said.
Long enjoyed a breakthrough season last term, establishing himself as one of Phantoms’ top six defencemen. He believes the impact of the Phantoms set up has had a positive impact on his development as a hockey player.
“Since joining the Peterborough Phantoms, I feel as If I have improved a lot. Every day spent training and playing is an opportunity to learn and improve. I am thankful to be surrounded by a great team and staff who are both supportive and constructive. Without that, it would be a more difficult journey. But I’m always wanting to improve and be the best that I can for not only myself but my team too.” Long said.
And he’s keen to see a repeat of last season, both personally and collectively, as the team look to add to the three trophies they won in the 2018/19 season.
“Personally, I want to take that one step further and take on more responsibility. I tend to focus short-term as you can only deal with what’s in front of you, that means improving every session and being the best, I can be for the team. Collectively, I want to match or top last season’s success. With it being a harder season with more competitive games, it will be more enjoyable and hopefully push the team that one step further to be successful.” Said Long.
The Phantoms are up against the Basingstoke Bison away from home on Saturday (6:30pm), before the Leeds Chiefs make their first ever trip to Planet Ice Peterborough on Sunday evening (5:30pm).