The Peterborough Phantoms Para Ice Hockey Team rounded off their regular league campaign with a home fixture against the Sheffield Steelkings. With their play-off berth confirmed, the Phantoms knew there was no pressure going into this game.
The home side welcomed utility player Darren Brown back following long term injury, along with Kieran, Ali and Callum who all missed the previous game in Manchester. Stuart and Graham were both missing through injury.
Phantoms started well with Marty and Ben commanding the defence, whilst Dan, Scotty and Kieran formed the opening forward line. The Forwards rotated throughout the game, changing as a line where possible, replicating the changes in the stand-up game. Darren centred the 2nd line with Ali and Nami out on the wings.
On 6.34 the visitors had Barry Grayson sent to the penalty box for a 2 minute Elbowing penalty, but despite holding possession the Phantoms couldn’t make the man advantage count. With the Phantoms starting to lose their shape and collapse around the puck and crowd the area in front of David O’Meara’s goal, they were punished when Graysons shot on 12.08 gave the visitors the lead.
The Steelkings lead lasted less than 2 minutes before the Phantoms drew level. Defenceman Ben Vernon battled to retain possession of the puck up the boards, before feeding the puck out to Dan Grange. Dan’s pinpoint pass found the marauding Darren Brown who fired the puck past Warren Hewitt in the visitors goal to make it 1-1 after 13.43.
Period 2 saw the Phantoms continue to have the majority of the possession, and outshoot their visitors 11-5, but Hewitt in the Steelkings goal was saving everything thrown at him, and the Steelkings gameplan of smothering the area around the goal was stopping the Phantoms usual style of play. As the game progressed the Phantoms started to become more dsperate and started to match the Steelkings style of play, as opposed to using their speed and skill to play the game at their pace.
With the game all square going into the final period, the Steelkings were looking at claiming their first points of the season. Phantoms kept pushing foirward with Matt Coleman and Scotty Trigg-Turner both coming close to giving the Phantoms the goal they so desperately wanted.
On 36.48 the Phantoms gained a bit of breathing space with the second goal of the game. Callum Shakespeare found Kieran O’Meara and his high shot from out wide flew into the top corner of the Steelkings goal, and the Phantoms breathed a collective sigh of relief. With Phantoms outshooting Sheffield 14-2 in the final period it’s credit to the Steelkings that the game finished 2-1.
On the final buzzer a number of the Phantoms players were upset with the way the team had played, especially in front of their fans, but with a month to go until the Play-Off finals in Widnes, the team now have time to regroup and refocus.
Man of the Match
Phantoms: Ali Amini
Steelkings: Rachel Paget
Shots on Goal:
Phantoms: David O’Meara – 3 – 5 – 2 = 10/1
Steelkings: Warren Hewitt – 10 – 11 – 14 = 35/2