MK LIGHTNING take on arch rivals Peterborough Phantoms in an English Premier League double-header this weekend – and have a point to prove.
Full of confidence after securing their first four-point weekend of the season against Bracknell Bees, Lightning welcome the old enemy to Planet Ice on Saturday night before travelling to Peterborough the following day.
They take on a Phantoms side that, on paper, they should beat. Struggling to score goals and sat second from bottom of the pile with just one win in six, the Cambridgeshire outfit appear on course for another disappointing season.
However, they go into the derby double with a slight psychological advantage over Lightning having defeated the city side 10-6 on aggregate in their pre-season Ashes clash.
Since then Nick Poole’s men have won four of their six league matches, while Phantoms have scored just 10 goals in their six outings – half of Lightning’s strike total.
Lighting won five out of the six league meetings between the two sides last season, including a 9-3 away thrashing in February. And only whipping boys Telford Tigers are currently sparing Peterborough’s blushes at the bottom of the table this term.
But Lightning player-coach Poole is warning against complacency when the two sides meet again this weekend, and believes there is still more to come from his side as they continue to improve following those two 5-3 Ashes defeats in September.
He said: “We don’t want to lose any game we play, pre-season or not – and in spite of the results, the Ashes games were worthwhile in terms of helping the team and the lines to gel.
“The results that weekend, and subsequently away at Basingstoke and Guildford, just served to make everyone even more determined to get back on track.
“We were short-benched against Bison recently but our 2-1 win over them in the home leg – and coming back from 2-0 down away at Bracknell last weekend – showed that we’re more than capable of digging deep to get the right result. And taking four points from an in-form Bees team was definitely the right result!
“The determination in this team is unbelievable – and nothing shows it better than Ross Bowers icing against Bison less than two weeks after knee surgery, when we thought he’d be out for six to eight weeks. He was just so determined that we should get something from the game.
“We missed Adam Calder’s prowess in front of goal recently but he fully deserved his moment in the spotlight with his university team at their Hall of Fame induction, and it would have been short-sighted of us to deny him that.
“We feel that we’re hitting our stride now, and really starting to read each other on the ice. The Ashes games gave us a chance to get a handle on Peterborough’s new season roster and that should help us this weekend.
“We know our supporters will be right behind us this weekend as they always are for these games so we want to send them home happy.”