Skipper Moore admits Wildcats lacked mental toughness
SWINDON captain Shane Moore admitted a lack of mental strength let down the Wildcats after they succumbed to their second 6-4 loss to Milton Keynes in as many evenings.
Wildcats were defeated in both the weekend’s EPL-Cup clashes having led on both occasions, with a second-period slump in the first meeting being mirrored by a similar episode in the third last night.
The Lightning scored three times in the final period at the SkyDome in Coventry - MK’s temporary home - to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 victory and ensure they made it three victories out of three against Swindon this season.
And defenceman Moore admitted afterwards that his team had to learn to push home their advantage when in a winning position.
“I’m disappointed. I think MK are a team we should be competing with and beating,” said Moore.
“We’ve got to be stronger mentally, we get in winning positions such as 2-0 up and rather than taking our foot off the gas, we’ve got to keep going and trying to get more.
“I think guys switch off and it’s not good enough right now, it’s something we need to work on.
“Tonight I thought we played well but unfortunately we had a couple of goals that bounced off defenders’ legs and went in and a goal they picked off when Stevie went to play it behind the net.
“They were just unfortunate mistakes. Overall, personally, I thought we were the better team.”
A powerful start put Swindon in control in the opening minutes, with Jonas Hoog getting his team going in fine style. The Swede steamed in on goal and sent Stephen Wall one way and then another before tapping home to the netminder’s right (3.58).
Hoog was involved in the second when he nipped round the back of the net and fired into the danger zone, where Adam Harding was on hand to stab into the net (6.18).
MK had offered very little in the offensive zone early on, but they pulled one back on the powerplay when Blaz Emersic’s hopeful shot was turned in by Michael Farn at 14.53.
The Lightning then pulled level in fortunate fashion at 16.07 as Adam Carr’s shot - which appeared to be fizzing off-target - deflected off the luckless Aku Pekkarinen and flew past goaltender Stevie Lyle.
Lightning hit the front in bizarre circumstances at the start of the second, when Lyle was caught off-limits behind his goal and Connor Goode laid back for Jordan Cownie to tap into the unguarded net (25.25).
Sam Bullas, Juha Silvander and Henri Sandvik all went close before the iron saved Lyle’s blushes at the other end, and Swindon made the most of their luck when head coach Ryan Aldridge streaked clear and squeezed a slapshot under Wall (32.36).
Within seconds of failing to capitalise on a powerplay, Wildcats forged ahead. Hoog skipped round the back of the net and laid into the path of new signing Ryan Watt, who grabbed his first Swindon goal (37.32) with a neat finish.
The third period began badly for Wildcats when Stan Lascek sent the puck home from Cownie’s pass to level the game up at 4-4 (48.46).
Lyle was powerless to stop number five on the powerplay, as the unchallenged Lascek picked out Grant McPherson from behind the goal and the latter poked low past the Welsh netminder (52.58).
Swindon went in search of the equaliser, but their challenge was finally ended at 57.51 when Tom Carlon raced free and dumped Lyle on the floor before tapping into the net.
On Saturday, Swindon were 2-0 up after the first period thanks to goals from Bullas and Pekkarinen.
But they found themselves 5-2 down following the second courtesy of Lascek, Janne Jokila, Carr and Carlon (2).
Ollie Betteridge and Hoog hit back in the third but a further goal from Lascek at 54.13 sealed victory for MK.
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