Sloppy defence costs Swindon Wildcats
WILDCATS head coach Ryan Aldridge admitted generous defensive and goaltending displays went a long way to handing Telford a 7-6 victory in a remarkable EPL clash in Shropshire last night.
A hat-trick from Jan Kostal and further goals from Jonas Hoog, new signing Aaron Nell and Aku Pekkarinen were not enough to secure Swindon victory in a game that rivalled Saturday’s 7-5 home triumph over Basingstoke for excitement.
Aldridge admitted errors in the defensive zone were to blame but was keen to point out that from an attacking perspective, his team were much-improved.
He said: “We had good D-zone on Saturday which gave us the chance to win in a shootout game. Tonight we were in a shootout game that I don’t think we should have been in.
“I think Stevie Lyle let two or three easy ones in that he should have had and I think our D-zone made too many mistakes.
“At least we now we can score goals which we have shown in the last couple of games. We just need to make sure we play tighter defence.
“The positive is that we can score goals which we couldn’t do six weeks ago.”
Swindon, now perilously close to dropping out of the play-off places, were very fortunate to be a goal up at the end of a first period that the home team dominated.
Telford seized the initiative in the opening minutes when Pekkarinen was binned for holding and five seconds later, Jaroslav Kruzik put the puck in the net (3.27).
The equaliser came at 8.42, with returning forward Nell fizzing a pass across the blueline to Hoog and the Swede lasered high past Ryan’s left shoulder.
The go-ahead goal arrived in controversial fashion at 20.00 exactly, with the hosts convinced that time was up.
Sam Smith pulled back from behind the goal for Kostal to apply the simplest of low finishes, and the match officials waved away the Telford protests.
Hoog was twice denied after breaking through on goal moments into the second period, with the Tigers making their visitors pay immediately through Kruzik (21.20).
And the hosts hit the front once more thanks to a beautifully-taken wraparound goal from Miika Kiviranta (30.55), only to then find themselves on the end of another controversial officiating decision.
Michal Pavlu was called for hooking and Kostal deked Ryan on the resulting penalty shot to level the game once more (31.06).
However, the resilience of the Tigers shone through again as they scored twice more through Timo Kuuluvainen to take the overall tally to four in seven minutes (34.20 and 37.41).
Kostal then slammed in his hat-trick goal at 41.26, only for Telford to profit from Stevie Whitfield’s high-sticks penalty as the lively Scott McKenzie scooted in off the right wing and beat Stevie Lyle low to make it 6-4 (46.33).
Swindon refused to go away and off a turnover in the neutral zone, Hoog flicked swiftly to Nell and the former Coventry crashed in off the iron to set up a tense final five minutes (54.57).
A slapshot from ex-Slough man Dan Scott took the score out to 7-5 before Pekkarinen set up a nervy final minute when he directed the puck high past Ryan (58.57).
There were half-chances for Ryan Watt and Pekkarinen in the closing seconds, but Telford held out.
Meanwhile, a date for Wildcats’ outstanding EPL fixture at Telford has been confirmed for Tuesday, January 14. A face-off time has yet to be confirmed.
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