After winning another League & Play Off double the Peterborough Phantoms have a tough start to the 2017 season starting off as they finished last season we head west to take on Cardiff Huskies. The Huskies were our closest rivals last season and pushed us all the way to the final game, the winner of this game would determine where the league title would end up. Cardiff worked hard but just couldn’t match the power and pace from the Phantoms, Cardiff’s most influential player Tyler Christopher was playing with cracked ribs he’d picked up earlier in the season against Sheffield Steelkings and wore a kick boxers body guard in the hope it would provide him with some support & protection. The garb just seemed to rob Tyler of his usually explosive pace and manoeuvrability and made life much easier for the Phantoms defence. Final score saw Phantoms run out with a resounding 6-2 victory and taking the game and the league title.
Cardiff would have their chance for revenge a few weeks later though in the Play Off finals. Sadly the game was overshadowed by a serious head & shoulder injury to Russ Wiley which saw him spend the night in hospital and a week off work with concussion. This wasn’t the ending Willey was hoping for having chosen to retire from the outfield he leaving the rink on a spinal board. At 50 years young Russ has had a long and outstanding career that has seen him competing in the Winter Olympics in 2006.
Carrying the puck out of his own goal zone Willey was hit hard and at speed, his position was right in the danger zone where if you were hit you would just bounce off the boards. Being about 5 feet from the boards meant the first thing to hit was his head. The check by long time bad boy and the highest penalty accumulator in the BSHA league since it’s inception saw Gary Farmer#13 catch Willey off guard as he was looking to lay off the puck. Willey went down with a proper thump as his head and shoulder collided square on to the boards. Video of the incident doesn’t make great viewing for Farmer as the hit was totally uncalled for with Phantoms 3-0 up at the time with around 10mins played of the second period. Farmer’s protests that it was a clean hit fell on deaf ears as the ref binned him for the remainder of the game with a 12min penalty.
Willey was out cold for a several minutes not moving a muscle leading to some concern from his team and most of the Phantoms squad. With a long delay as an ambulance was called for it put a real damper on the final game. Luckily the new GB team Manager & general all round medical guru Shirley Packwood was on hand to ensure Willey was looked after correctly and assisted the ambulance crew once they arrived. The game was delayed by about 30 minutes and due to limited ice time the final period was binned along with Farmer. The last period was played at a subdued pace as Phantoms just rode out the final few minutes and extend their lead by a goal from Darren Brown#46.
Farmer who has since moved to Sheffield Steel Kings saw out his final game for the Phantoms in the same manner as he finished his international career in the penalty box. It’s a real shame as he’s clearly the best player within the league and just doesn’t seem to be able kerb his hard hitting nature that seems him ending up in the penalty box in most games. Gary had joined the Phantoms since the clubs inception and was largely responsible for bringing the success to the team that Phantoms have seen over the last 4 years finished up as the bad boy of the day for hit many players deemed unnecessary. The Phantoms wish Gary well and thank him for all that he has done for the club & players since he joined. Moving to Sheffield SteelKings see’s him taking on another challenge training and playing for the leagues whipping boys over the last few seasons. Good luck Gaz and there will no doubt be some big hits put in as Phantoms & Sheffield face each other on the 15th July.
Check out the video below and make your own mind up, leave a comment if you wish…