SWINDON WILDCATS: Hoog hails gritty win
FORWARD Jonas Hoog insists Swindon Wildcats got the best out of a ‘bad situation’ after securing a gritty 2-1 road win at Sheffield last night.
Wildcats have slid down the EPL table with alarming speed of late, but victory in South Yorkshire injected a dose of positivity into a locker room depleted by absence and injury.
The EPL-Cup result also meant the Link Centre side successfully defended a two-goal lead, something they have struggled to achieve throughout the first half of the season, delighting Swedish ace Hoog.
“It was a long road trip and we’re in a bad situation right now so it’s good that we won,” he said.
“It was very important for all the guys that we gave a good performance and two points is really good for us.
“We need to come together and figure out a way to win because I think we have given away a lot of games.
“We’ve been up by two goals in a lot of games and lost, so we’ve been trying to work on it and tonight we had a good game and got two points.
“I think we shut it down pretty well in the third, we didn’t give away too much. We controlled the third apart from the last two minutes when you always get pressed down.
“The whole team played their part and it was a good D game.”
Missing Ollie Betteridge, Floyd Taylor and Sam Godfrey due to GB Under-20s duty and Finnish forward Henri Sandvik due to concussion, Wildcats were forced to take action, with Czech defenceman Tomas Fojtik included after signing a short-term deal and head coach Ryan Aldridge making a now rare appearance on the ice.
Following a goalless first period that the Steeldogs dominated for long spells, Swindon took the lead at 24.25, when Aldridge was allowed to spin into space and smash a low slapshot beyond goaltender Dalibor Sedlar.
The lead was doubled at 32.23 when Hoog elected to lay off to Jan Kostal rather than shoot through traffic, a decision vindicated by the in-form Kostal lashing home low at the near post.
Sheffield gave themselves a lifeline at 38.17 when Ashley Calvert prodded past Stevie Lyle from the edge of the crease, but despite visiting skipper Shane Moore missing the whole of the third period due to concussion, Swindon remained strong.
The Wildcats killed time effectively and defended for their lives when required, with Lyle exemplary between the pipes.
That result followed up a 4-2 defeat to high-flying Manchester at the Link Centre on Saturday.
James Archer put the visitors in front (18.50) before Ryan Watt tied it up at 29.17.
However, Michal Psurny struck twice at 31.25 and 38.56 – the second of these efforts being short-handed – to make it 3-1 to the Phoenix.
Liam Chong extended the lead (46.58) before Kostal bagged a second consolation for Wildcats (53.37).
Meanwhile, GB Under-20s beat Solway 6-3 in their second and final warm-up game before the World Championship (Division 1B) on Saturday.
Pete Russell's side triumphed in straightforward fashion as Sam Duggan (2), Jordan Cownie, Ivan Antonov, Matt Selby and Shawn Mackie got the goals.
GB begin their World Championship campaign this evening when they face Italy (8pm) at Dumfries Ice Bowl.
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