Three goals from James Stanmore ensured that the points were shared when Peterborough Phantomes arrived at Planet Ice Gillingham on Saturday 30th March for the EIHA South East Divsion 1 Under 11 fixture.
Earlier in the season, Invicta had been edged out 3-2 in a very competitive game but since then, the Phantoms have claimed some impressive results and it was clear that the Stampede would have to be on form to beat the leagues second place team.
In truth, Stampede could feel a little hard done by to have ended the match with a draw, as for long spells in the game, they were in control. In terms of possession, the team play and individual ability Stampede were dominant with Peterborough resulting in physicality to try and keep in the game.
The first period set the tone of what was to be a very exciting game. The visitors taking the lead before Harry Foreman reacted quickest to a puck infront of the Peterborough net, accuratley finishing to tie the game. The majority of the period was spent in the Phantom’s third with Stampede in possession and creating some good chances. Peterborough, to their credit, did take the most of their few opportunities and restored their lead when a break away made the score 2-1 Phantoms. Stampede did not fold and battled to the end of the period when Stanmore equalised with his first of the afternoon after a well thought out pass by Josh Fielding. End of the first 2-2.
Although the second period remained goalless it was by no means less exciting with both sets of supporters beginning to increase the volume of support as they tried to encourage their respective sides. The physicality of this game was noteable as Alan Khafizov, Oliver Parker and Dylan Worthy were on the receiving end of some dubious challenges, which may have been dealt with differently by more experienced officials. Worthy recieived a questionable sin bin for retaliating to a strong challenge on Khafizov, before Peterborough also lost one to the bin as the period drew to a close.
The game went into the final period. The intensity and physicality of the game continued; Peterborough once again restoring their lead after some fantasic intital work to keep them out by Prentice. Yeates, Chard, J Foreman, Murray and Robson determined that the fortunes from the away game earlier in the season be reversed, looked to rally some of the younger members of the team. The team responded, Stanmore adding two further goals to his total to see the home team lead 4-3. Both of these goals were expertly taken and clinically finished with his hat-trick goal followed up with an equally impressive celebration! 4-3 Stampede!
Peterborough, second in the division, are there for a reason and it was unfortunatley an all too familiar script for the home team and their supporters when, in the dying seconds, Phantoms equalised to draw the game.
In reflection, this was a very physical contest which equally produced some fantastic ice hockey. It was an entertaining afternoon for all who witnessed it and every member of each team should be proud of their performances. Stampede players battled well and, as a team, have developed fantasicllay this year under the guidance of the coaching team. Lets hope these performances continue throughout a very busy schedule in April.
Man of the Match: Alan Khafizov
Spirit of the Game: Harry Foreman