Koulikov set for change in final showdown

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov (PHOTO: Tom Scott)

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov says there’s a couple of things he’s looking to tweak as his team prepare for the second leg of the NIHL National Cup Final against Telford Tigers.

The Phantoms are trailing 6-4 after the first leg last Friday as they head to Telford Ice Rink, looking to turn it around to claim the season’s first trophy in the NIHL’s top tier.

And Koulikov insists he was happy with Friday’s performance despite the result not going their way and would be satisfied with a similar display.

“We need to correct a couple of things from Friday,” he said.  “Overall at five-on-five we had some of the better chances and maybe should’ve scored one or two extra goals.

“Our special teams could’ve been better, especially on the powerplay as we didn’t create that much. We have identified that and it’s down to the players now.

THE STORY SO FAR: Friday’s first leg between the teams, that saw Tigers take a 6-4 lead from Peterborough

“We just have to be mentally strong because it was only a couple of small margins and decisions which didn’t go our way which meant we lost the game.

“Telford will come out flying and we’re going to have to have everyone playing, as a minimum, the way we played on Friday night, with the desire and passion we showed in that game. If we can bring that and correct the two or three things we’ve spoken about, it’s game on.

“On Friday at five-on-five, it was a really good game and we need to bring those levels again as a minimum for the second leg.”

For Telford, it’s the start of a week where they could be the proud owners of two trophies as they look to confirm the NIHL National League title.

But the task at hand is the final with Phantoms and Tigers coach Tom Watkins is in a positive mood ahead of the second leg.

Telford Tigers coach Tom Watkins (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

“We played three games in three days and only dropped one point. That was a big weekend,” he said.

“Leeds was a huge result on Sunday, a massive performance and great reward for our commitment.  There’s not a lot else I can say.

“It was a great feeling and we now look forward to the cup final second leg.”

BBC Radio Shropshire is broadcasting the second leg live in a special programme starting at 7 pm.

The station is available on 96FM in Shropshire, worldwide via the BBC Sounds app and at bbc.co.uk/radioshropshire, and across much of the West Midlands on DAB and Freeview channel 721.

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