SWINDON Wildcats had an opportunity to complete a four-point weekend but again failed to get the job done, writes George Royle.
The Wiltshire side kept their excellent home form going as they defeated the Peterborough Phantoms 6-2 in a clinical performance on Saturday. A day later, they fell to a disappointing defeat at Telford Tigers, the league's worst side.
At the Link Centre on Saturday, a tight first period ended with the score tied at 1-1. Finnish import Henri Sandvik scored for the home side early in the frame.
The Wildcats started quickly in the second session, as they bagged two goals in as many minutes through fans' favourite Jonas Hoog.
Peterborough hit straight back through William Weldon, but a late goal in the period from Floyd Taylor gave Swindon a 4-2 lead heading into the final session.
Third-period goals from Sandvik and Aaron Nell capped an impressive performance by the Wildcats, sealing a 6-2 victory. Goalie Dean Skinns also played a superb game, stopping 38 of 40 shots.
A recently-strengthened Telford outfit greeted Swindon on Sunday. The Cats took an early lead through Sam Bullas, but goals from James Preece and Callum Bowley gave the Tigers a 2-1 edge after one period.
Swindon managed to bag an equaliser early in the second frame through captain Nell. From then on they seemed to lack any creativity going forward and the Tigers capitalised on that, scoring three unanswered goals to lead 5-2. Nell bagged his second of the night to make the score 5-3 heading to the final period.
A lone third period goal from Tomas Karpov gave the Tigers a well-deserved win.
There is no doubt that the Cats are good enough to beat any team in the league, but they lack consistency. It looks as if they will be sitting mid-table come the end of the campaign.
Playing one of the better teams in the first round of the play-offs is something that the Wildcats may actually favour. Tackling the elite teams has certainly raised their game, leading to positive results on many occasions.