Leeds Knights: Maximum return for Knights on opening NIHL National weekend

MUCH like at the start of their Autumn Cup campaign, Leeds Knights sit top of the NIHL National regular season standings after enjoying a ‘perfect’ opening weekend.
Leeds Knights's Brandon Whistle scored twice in the 5-3 win at Peterborough Phantoms 

Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium PrintsLeeds Knights's Brandon Whistle scored twice in the 5-3 win at Peterborough Phantoms 

Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints
Leeds Knights's Brandon Whistle scored twice in the 5-3 win at Peterborough Phantoms Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints

A 5-2 win on home ice in front of a record crowd of more than 1,100 on Saturday night against Bees was enhanced by a 5-3 win on the road at Peterborough Phantoms 24 hours later - the Knights gaining swift revenge on a team who ended the unbeaten start to their Cup campaign a week earlier in Leeds.

But the Knights’ win came at a price, with two-way forward Cole Shudra requiring hospital treatment for an injury, adding to the absence of defenceman Jordan Griffin who was again sidelined.

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As was the case the previous evening in Leeds, the Knights found themselves trailing early on, this time Duncan Speirs causing the damage with just 135 seconds on the board.

In a period which saw the visitors outshot 15-9, it was perhaps something of a surprise that they found themselves level, but a second power play opportunity proved to be the catalyst, Kieran Brown firing home at 18.11 for his 13th goal of the season.

The second period proved equally tight but it was the Knights who got themselves ahead at 24.16 through Brandon Whistle, that lead being doubled just four minutes later when Joe Coulter wristed home his first of the season.

But, no sooner had the Knights’ celebrations calmed, than the Phantoms were back within one, Ales Padelek making it 3-2 at 28.37, just 36 seconds after Coulter’s strike.

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As the game approached the final 10 minutes, the Knights again gave themselves breathing space when Whistle showed neat skill to make it 4-2 at 49.14.

Leeds Knights centre Matty Davies enjoyed a 1+2 night in the 5-3 win for Peeterborough Phantoms on Sunday night. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.Leeds Knights centre Matty Davies enjoyed a 1+2 night in the 5-3 win for Peeterborough Phantoms on Sunday night. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.
Leeds Knights centre Matty Davies enjoyed a 1+2 night in the 5-3 win for Peeterborough Phantoms on Sunday night. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

But, once again, Peterborough refused to go away, this time Jasper Foster taking just 42 seconds to post a reply.

It ensured plenty of nerves for the visitors but, with man-of-the-match Sam Gospel again standing tall in net - turning away 32 of the 35 shots on his goal - they proved tough to break down. Matty Davies then added insurance with an empty-netter with 34 seconds remaining after Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov had pulled netminder Jordan Marr.