Miller's treble stuns Swindon Wildcats at home

This Is Wiltshire: Basingstoke's Joe Miller scores against Swindon Wildcats on Saturday night Basingstoke's Joe Miller scores against Swindon Wildcats on Saturday night

ALEX Symonds insisted the Swindon Wildcats players were able to leave the ice in a positive frame of mind despite their 4-3 home loss to Basingstoke on Saturday night.

Joe Miller netted a hat-trick for the visitors to wrap up an impressive victory in the league and cup encounter, with a brace from Jan Kostal and one from Adam Harding not enough for the hosts.

Despite the loss, Symonds was pleased with the performance his side put in but, with the likes of Sam Bullas, Ollie Betteridge and Sam Godfrey away on international duty admitted Wildcats may have felt the effects of being short-benched towards the end.

“It was all pretty positive at the end to be honest because we played a pretty solid game and were a bit unlucky at the end because we were a bit short-benched and it showed,” he said.

“For the other 40 or 50 minutes we played some solid stuff and we have to be pleased with that because Basingstoke are a good side. We matched them, and in some ways were better, and although we lost we have to take the positives.

“We were solid in defence and everyone did the jobs they were asked to do and worked well for the team.

“We had to work hard in certain areas because we were short-benched and we do miss the younger guys because they win a lot of energy.

“It’s hard to be short-benched, although it can be good because everyone’s involved and are right in the game. It’s just a shame we couldn’t make it work for us.”

Both sides opened the encounter at a frantic pace and it didn’t take long for the first goal to arrive as Tomas Karpov swept up from close range to slam home a rebound.

It took Wildcats until the closing two minutes of the opening period to level matters as they took advantage of a powerplay, with Adam Harding given time and space to fire a slapshot past his former Swindon teammate Dean Skinns.

Neither side could nudge in front during the opening stages of the second session, but in the 32nd minute Joe Miller collected a loose puck and let off a powerful shot which beat netminder Stevie Lyle with Cats shorthanded.

This time the hosts were able to level quickly as coach Ryan Aldridge found himself with time to shoot with the resulting effort allowing import Jan Kostal the chance to tap home an easy equaliser.

The teams were level going into the final session but again it took 12 minutes for either side to notch ahead, with Miller grabbing his second of the contest to put the visitors in front once again, and just a minute later it was 4-2 as the forward completed his treble.

Wildcats clawed their way back into the contest quickly, as Kostal found the top corner to cut the deficit to just a single goal, but they couldn’t find a second and the Link Centre side fell to a disappointing home defeat.

The Wildcats are not in action again until December 28, when they again face the Bison at the Link Centre.

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