ICE HOCKEY: New signing Kostal stars but Wildcats lose again

JAN KOSTAL wowed the Swindon crowd on his home debut, scoring a very impressive hat-trick in the 5-4 loss to the Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday, writes George Royle.

Sheffield opened the scoring after just 33 seconds through Lloyd Gibson. The Wildcats levelled not long after as Finnish defence man, Aku Pekkarinen, fired a trademark slapshot past Dalibor Sedlar. An entertaining first frame concluded with the score tied at 1-1.

Kostal bagged the first of his three goals with 34 seconds on the clock in the second period. There seemed to be a trend of instant responses in the game, and Sheffield continued it as they replied immediately with Czech forward Lubomir Korhon finishing skilfully past Lyle.

Swindon edged in front again midway through the game as Kostal was put through on a breakaway before slotting it through the netminder's legs. Despite grabbing their second lead of the night, the Cats conceded again, but they ensured they went into the final frame with a lead. Kostal secured his hat-trick late in the second session after wrong-footing Steeldogs goalie Sedlar.

In the early stages of the third, Sheffield scored a controversial equaliser. In frustration, Pekkarinen questioned the referee’s decision, and in doing so received what turned out to be a costly ten-minute misconduct penalty.

With seven minutes left in the game, Steve Duncombe sealed a dramatic victory for Sheffield.

The Wildcats are finding it hard to stop their recent bad run of form, and consequently sit ninth in the table.

A very tough weekend looms for the Cats as they host Manchester on Saturday before making the long journey to Sheffield on Sunday to face the Steeldogs.

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