March 6, 2020
Peterborough Phantoms host Telford Tigers this evening in the first leg of the NIHL National Cup. The two sides will be looking to join Streatham (South), Invicta (South 2), Solihull (Midland) and Murrayfield (North) as Cup winners in the National Leagues this season.
League leaders Telford also qualified top of the Cup standings and defeated Swindon Wildcats in the semi final, overturning a three goal first leg deficit with a thrilling penalty shots victory.
Peterborough’s path to the final saw them place third in qualifying before they won both legs of their last four tie with Hull Pirates for a 12-8 aggregate win.
In the season series, Telford have won all four meetings although the first two games went all the way to penalty shots. The most recent encounter was just last Saturday in Shropshire – a see-saw game which was tied heading into the final ten minutes before Tigers’ captain Jason Silverthorn potted the winner and added an empty netter for good measure in a 6-4 Telford win.
Speaking to GoPhantoms.co.uk ahead of the game, Peterborough’s Slava Koulikov said: “When it comes to the big stage, you have to enjoy it, play with confidence and leave everything out there. We’ve done and achieved so much in the last year and three quarters with minimal changes to the team, so it comes down to enjoying the final and the moment, and with that enjoyment they must leave everything out there and compete. Tactically, we’re ready, so we need to play with confidence and passion to try and win another trophy.
“It’s anyone’s trophy, they’re a very solid team who have a lot of little details right. They’re well organised and Tom Watkins is proving that he’s a very good coach. That’s why they’re going to win the league. We’ve done a good job as well this year so its two good teams, two games, everything else goes out of the window, whoever plays their best will win.”
Tigers head coach Tom Watkins said: “We’re very excited to have made the Cup Final after a tight series against Swindon.
“We showed a lot of resilience to qualify and we know we will need the same attitude and focus to be successful against a talented Peterborough team.”
Tickets are still available for tonight’s first leg which faces off at 7.30pm at Planet Ice Peterborough. There is also a webcast online at https://gophantoms.co.uk/live-stream/
NIHL National Cup Final second leg is on Wednesday March 11 at Telford Ice Rink, puck drop 7.45pm.