SWINDON WILDCATS: Aldridge set to ring the changes after Phantoms horror show (From This Is Wiltshire)
SWINDON WILDCATS: Aldridge set to ring the changes after Phantoms horror show
CHANGES look set to go through at Swindon Wildcats after the Link Centre side suffered a third successive defeat in an 8-6 blockbuster at Peterborough on Saturday night.
Head coach Ryan Aldridge last week admitted he was considering shaking things up after the double defeat to Milton Keynes and Saturday’s loss in Cambridgeshire - in which the Wildcats gave up a winning position for the third successive game - appeared to cement that thought process.
Asked if changes were next on his agenda, Aldridge said: “You’ll have to wait and see.”
Swindon’s players were kept in a shut locker room for a lengthy period following Saturday’s loss as Aldridge made his feelings clear, and the head coach was unimpressed with the sequence of events that led to a three-goal advantage turning into an 8-6 defeat.
“We’ve gone from 3-0 up to getting beaten by an average hockey team, it wasn’t good enough,” said Aldridge.
“We keep coming out and playing well but we lose concentration it cost us the game.
“We said last week that it was the last straw and that this was one more chance and it didn’t happen again tonight.
“I think we change the way we play (when ahead). I think we get lazy and our D-zone goes to pot. We talked before the game about winning our one-on-one battles, but defensively one-on-one we were horrendous.
“We got back into it in the third but even then we gave up easy goals again.”
Swindon were second-best early on but when Ryan Watt struck at 5.59, it opened the floodgates. The former Braehead man was in reams of space when picked out by Hoog's square pass, and he duly beat Damien King in the Phantoms goal.
Henri Sandvik added number two (7.19) at the second attempt before Sam Bullas broke clear and sent home a classy top-shelf finish (9.14).
Wildcats gave their hosts a way back into the game when Bullas and Aku Pekkarinen were binned, with Swindon old boy Jaroslav Cesky pulling it back to 3-1 from close range (10.38).
From the visitors' perspective, the second period was as bad as the first was good, as they shipped four goals and managed just one themselves.
Defenceman Marcel Petran converted on the powerplay with a trademark driven effort (23.50), and although Ryan Watt squeezed past King at the near post (28.39), Peterborough soon replied.
With Adam Harding binned for hooking, ex-Swindon forward Nicky Watt - brother to Ryan - lashed home a third powerplay goal for the Phantoms.
And the home side drew level at 4-4 after Cesky slalomed through at 33.07 with the go-ahead goal arriving in fine style just over five minutes later.
Phantoms skipper James Ferrara exchanged a one-two with Frankie Zubek and cut in from the left before slotting past Lyle from an improbable angle (38.56).
Bullas brought the visitors back on level terms at the start of the third period when he directed in a smash from Alex Symonds (43.29), but the hosts then raced away.
Will Weldon rounded Lyle before tapping in (49.56) and then turned provider as his short pass to Zubek gave the Slovakian an easy finish from close in (53.00).
Swindon vainly tried to get back in it in the closing moments but Erik Piatak’s empty-net goal at 59.24 confirmed the defeat, although there was still time for Sandvik to grab Wildcats’ sixth with 18 seconds left.
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