AFTER four losses from their last five games, it is a tough time in the Wildcats camp at the moment as their search for consistency goes on, writes George Royle.
With injuries to key players Shane Moore and Michal Kapicka, a midweek trip to Guildford was the last thing that Swindon would have wanted. However, the Cats dug deep to record a massive victory, winning a thriller 5-4.
It was a shame they couldn’t build on the great midweek win. They were outclassed by the Milton Keynes Lightning and fell to defeats on both Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday at the Link Centre, a dire first period for the hosts led to them trailing by two goals (Adam Carr and Blaz Emersic) when the buzzer sounded.
The second period wasn’t any better for the Wildcats as Milton Keynes raced to a four-goal lead, Nick Poole scrambling one home and Lewis Christie scoring a wrist shot to give the Lightning even more momentum.
Cats captain Aaron Nell grabbed one back in stylish fashion to take the score to 4-1 after two periods of hockey.
Swindon had more shots than the visitors but lacked a clinical edge in front of goal. Veteran Nicky Chinn skilfully gave the Lightning their fifth goal early in the third session and Emersic grabbed his second of the night to take the score to 6-1. Two consolation goals for the Cats came through Nell and Nicky Watt to finish the game with a scoreline of 6-3 in favour of Milton Keynes.
The long road trip on Sunday didn’t seem to help the Cats as they were dominated from start to finish. Swindon were heavily out-shot and failed to score on the night, falling to a disappointing 3-0 defeat.
Czech Blaz Emersic continued his impressive weekend to score yet another goal and give his team a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. Chris Wiggins added a second for the hosts midway through the second period and Lukas Zatopek rounded off a convinving victory with a nice goal in the final frame.
After a successful finish to the 2011/12 campaign and with some exciting additions in the off-season, the Wildcats have certainly under-achieved in the league so far, although they have not been helped by injuries.
Goalie Thomas Murdy has yet to feature so far this season, and Moore and Kapicka are again struggling to be fit for this weekend's fixtures.
However, after a string of tough games, the Wildcats have a much easier weekend in prospect. On Saturday, they take on bottom-placed Telford at home and on Sunday they travel to face the struggling Peterborough Phantoms. Aldridge’s men have to be aiming for a four-point weekend to try and build some momentum.