British Ice Hockey

EPL preview: Baston eyes another league title

Jon Baston has pledged to help Telford Tigers win the EPL title this season.

The 22-year-old netminder was unveiled as the latest addition to Tom Watkins’ roster this week, as the league campaign enters its final months.

The Tigers currently have a six-point lead over Saturday’s opponents MK Lightning at the top of the table and Baston is keen to help maintain that gap.

He said: “I’d like to be able to win a championship with Telford. After a strong season last year, this is an amazing opportunity to join a strong team, with great chances to hoist the championship trophy.

“Tom told me about his plans to fight for the title this year, which is something I definitely want to be part of. I believe I will be able to make large contributions to the team, both on and off the ice.”

Baston, who won the EPL title with Basingstoke last season, will share goaltending duties with Sam Gospel.

“Just as with every teammate, having excellent chemistry is vital for everyone on the team,” he added.

“Creating a strong professional relationship between goaltenders is significant in the development of both goalies.

“Having mutual respect allows both parties to study and learn from each other, which in turn allows the team to develop.”

Peterborough Phantoms’ boss Slava Koulikov has praised his players for climbing up to third in the standings, but believes there is still plenty of scope for improvement.

The Phantoms visit Basingstoke Bison on Saturday, before returning to home ice against Sheffield Steeldogs the following day and Koulikov wants his team to continue their progress.

“I told the guys on New Year’s Day that they’ve done a great job so far and already proved a lot of people wrong,” he told Peterborough Today.

“It’s been excellent to see the way we’ve grown as a team since we first stepped onto the ice with so many new faces.

“We’re now more than halfway through the season and we have some big teams such as Guildford, Swindon and Basingstoke below us in the table. That is an excellent achievement in itself.

“We’re doing extremely well, but we can still be better. The way to do that is to continue working hard and trying to perform for a full sixty minutes in every game.

“They are the only goals we set ourselves – there are no targets in terms of finishing position. The guys do not need that kind of pressure.

“We know we’re in a good spot in the league and that we have a cup semi-final to look forward to with the play-offs to follow at the end of the season.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Basingstoke Bison v Peterborough Phantoms
Manchester Phoenix v Guildford Flames
MK Lightning v Telford Tigers
Sheffield Steeldogs v Bracknell Bees
Swindon Wildcats v Hull Pirates

Sunday

Bracknell Bees v Basingstoke Bison
Guildford Flames v MK Lightning
Hull Pirates v Manchester Phoenix
Peterborough Phantoms v Sheffield Steeldogs
Telford Tigers v Swindon Wildcats

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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