Phan­toms have turned to a wiz­ard from Aus

Ice hockey - Sharp-shoot­ing Aussie joins city club

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport - By Mark Plum­mer ICE HOCKEY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Phan­toms are giv­ing a goalscor­ing wiz­ard from Aus the chance to be­come a big hit in Bri­tish hockey. The city club have cap­tured Aus­tralian i nter­na­tional sharp-shooterWe­he­beDarge, who touched down in the UK on Monday and trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Tues­day night.

And the 24 year-old for­ward, who has been pro­lific for his home city club, Ade­laide Adren­a­line, in the Aus­tralian Ice Hockey League for sev­eral years, will go straight into English Premier League bat­tle this week­end - pro­vid­ing his in­ter­na­tional reg­is­tra­tion goes through in time.

Dargeal­so­hasam­ple­ex­pe­ri­ence in North Amer­ica and sam­pled Euro­pean hockey last sea­son when­rack­ing upa half-cen­tury of points for Bel­gian side Chiefs Leu­ven.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited to have theop­por­tu­ni­ty­to­come­tothe UK and join Phan­toms,” said Darge.“I’mlook­ing­for­wardto learn­ing from­myteam-mates and be­ing chal­lenged in the English Premier League.

“I hope the skills I ’ ve gained from play­ing in Aus­tralia, North Amer­ica and Bel­gium can help Phan­toms to suc­ceed.”

Phan­toms coach Slava Koulikov ad­mit­ted that a short­age of goals in the open­ing month of the new sea­son con­vinced him­to­boost his at­tack­ing op­tions.

The city side have struck 16 times in six games to date. Only­bot­tomtwo, Manch­ester and Brack­nell, have hit fewer goals.

And while Koulikov has been im­pressed by Darge’s de­sire to be­come a Phan­toms player, he in­sists it will take time for the new re­cruit to find his feet.

“We feel it is the right time to add an­other im­port to our ros­ter,” said Koulikov. “We’re man­ag­ing less than three goals per game and hope­fully the ad­di­tion of an im­port can help us score a few more.

“We have been aware of We­hebe for some time, we have re­ceived some very good ref­er­ences, andwe­have­heard a lot of good things about him as both a player and a per­son.

“Sure, it is a gam­ble, but that’s the case when­ever you bring in a player from over­seas. I’ve seen some video clips of We­hebe in ac­tion and his abil­ity to cre­ate and score goals is im­pres­sive.

“He is very keen to prove him­self in the UK and I’m more than happy to have him on board.

“It will take time for him to get match-fit an­dad­just to be­ing in a newen­vi­ron­ment­that is thou­sands of miles away from home, but hope­fully he can make an im­pact for us.”

Phan­toms started the new sea­son with four im­ports – net­min­der Ja­nis Auzins and for­wards Petr Stepanek, Dar­ius Pliskauskas and Ales Padelek.

But clubs in the EPL are per­mit­ted­touse­fiveo­ver­seas play­ers nowandDargewil­l­fill the club’s quota.

Koulikov con­firmed no play­ers will be re­leased to ac­com­mo­date the new cap­ture.

New sign­ing We­hebe Darge.

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