Swindon Wildcats looking to find some form ahead of the play-offs
12:15pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Sport
THE Swindon Wildcats' hopes of a fifth-place finish in ice hockey’s Premier League took a severe blow when they lost twice last weekend, writes George Royle.
They suffered an embarrassing 10-2 defeat in Milton Keynes on Saturday before falling 6-5 in an epic encounter with the Basingstoke Bison at home a day later.
A very early Loris Taylor goal got Swindon off to the perfect start on Saturday, but two Lightning strikes ended a tight first period with the score in favour of MK.
Milton Keynes stepped up a level in the second period, scoring three goals through Nicky Chinn, Kamil Tvrdek and Grant McPherson. Swindon responded through Sam Bullas to keep themselves in the game with the score at 5-2 going into the final frame.
The third period was one that Swindon will want to put behind them for they conceded five unanswered goals. Blaz Emersic bagged a hat-trick, with Leigh Jamieson and Adam Carr also scoring.
It looked like it was going to be a similar story on Sunday when the Cats fell 3-0 behind within 12 minutes against the high-flying Basingstoke Bison.
However, a phenomenal first period somehow ended 4-3 in favour of the Wiltshire side. The Cats goals came from Aaron Nell (3) and Matias Perkkio.
The second session maintained the high level of intensity. The Bison bagged two early goals to take a 5-4 lead, but Perkkio equalised midway through the period.
At 5-5, the third session was set to be a great one. It was tense as both teams were pushing for a goal but were also cautious of conceding. The crucial moment came with just four minutes remaining when Greg Owen fired home the Bison winner.
Conceding 16 goals in two games is alarming for the Cats with the play-offs in sight.
Swindon have four games remaining and face a very tough run-in. They play Bracknell, Basingstoke and Guildford twice as they search for some late form.
As it stands, Swindon will play Manchester in the first round of the play-offs. They squared off at the same stage last year, with the Phoenix advancing to the semifinals.
A positive that the Wildcats can take from a disappointing weekend is the fact that several injured players returned to the line-up.
The Taylor brothers, Loris and Floyd, both came back as well as key import Henri Sandvik, meaning coach Ryan Aldridge now has plenty of forwards at his disposal.