‘Ashes’ test will be a tough one
Ice hockey - Phantoms face big rivals Lightning home and away
by Slava Koulikov has warned his Phantoms players to prepare for two stern tests against a team tipped to win the English Premier League title. The city side complete their preparationsforthenewcampaignwhenfacingfiercerivals Milton Keynes Lightning in back-to-backchallenge clashes this weekend.
The two sides meet i n Buckinghamshire on Saturday (7pm) ahead of a return date at Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm) in the traditional eve-of-the-season ‘Ashes’ battles.
And it means Phantoms will be going up against two former players who moved to Lightning this summer.
Czech f orward Milan Baranykhelpedthecitysideto play-off glory in 2014/15 while Anglo- Canadian ace Craig Scottwastheirtop-scorer last term when finishing second and reaching the EPL Cup final.
Koulikov said: “We know we are going to be in for two very tough tests against MK.
“We have a big rivalry with them and I’m sure the sup- porters will be keen to see us do well.
“It will also be interesting for the fans to see guys like Milan and Craig again after they didagoodjobforus, butitdoes not add anything extra to the game for me.
“My only focus is on the guys who will be playing for me this season and ensuring we continue to progress. It is all about being ready for the first league game on September 10.”
Phantoms fans will get their first glimpse of new import forward Petr Stepanek this weekend.
ThegiantCzechacearrived in the country on Bank Holiday Monday after a successful stint in Australia where he racked up 30 points (15 goals and 15 assists) in 15 games for the Sydney Ice Dogs.
Big British signing James Archerwasduetotouchdown on these shores today (Thursday) after a spell playing in New Zealand.
Heis also set to be involved attheweekendwhileWillWeldon returns after being away for the club’s two outings against Sheffield Steeldogs last weekend.
Phantomsfollowedupa3-3 homedrawwitha7-5defeat in Sheffield.
Craig Scott is back at Planet Ice on Sunday.