Koulikov: We’ve worked hard to earn trophy chance

Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov is eyeing up success in the NIHL National Cup (PHOTO: Peterborough Phantoms)

He took his family to see the new ‘Wreck It Ralph’ film earlier this week, now Peterborough Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov is keen to destroy Sheffield Steeldogs’ hopes of winning a trophy.

Both teams meet at Ice Sheffield in the first leg of the NIHL Autumn Cup, keen to get the advantage before they do it all again a week on Friday in Peterborough.

And the Phantoms boss would love to see his team take the first silverware of the season, but isn’t getting too ahead of himself.

“It would be amazing to win a trophy this early in the season and I feel we’ve worked hard for it, but it’s two well-matched teams who have been neck and neck in previous games,” Koulikov said.

“We lost by one goal at home then beat them in overtime away so I can’t predict a result, but it would be good if we play well and great for the organisation if we were to win it.

“Having our home game second gives us an advantage, but it doesn’t matter because if we played at home first, if we got a good result, we’d have to keep it going in the second leg.

“Sometimes it’s better to play the second leg away and it could bring less pressure, but as I always say, we just have to concentrate on one game at a time and do our best away.”

Koulikov, who is also the head coach of the GB Men’s Under 20 team cast his eye over the opposition and the challenge that lies ahead.

And he also believes two key league victories at the weekend, beating Swindon Wildcats and Bracknell Bees has put them in a good position before the meeting with the Steeldogs.

He added: “The Steeldogs have been brilliant and are the champions in the North 1 Division for a reason. They did it last year and are top of the division again this year.

“I believe they’ve improved and having two of our former players in there, in Nathan Salem and Duncan Spiers, they’ve definitely improved.

“They have one of the best goaltenders in the NIHL and in defence and offence, they have good imports. It’s a solid team from the back all the way through.

“Having a good weekend like we did certainly helps the confidence going into this game.  Beating the top teams in our division keeps the momentum going so we should be high in confidence.”

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