Aldridge calls for fans' support for play-off push
5:30am Monday 17th February 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
RYAN Aldridge is hoping for more packed houses at the Link Centre to help his Wildcats team beat their stuttering form heading into the play-offs.
Cats went down 4-3 at home to Bracknell on Saturday night, although they were buoyed by an impressive home crowd which helped turn the rink red before face-off using hundreds of red glowsticks.
“Our marketing team have done a great job to put people in the building,” Aldridge said.
“It’s great to play in front of a full or even half full building and it gives you a lift. It’d be great to have to it full to the end of the season with the fans getting behind us into the playoffs.”
However the Cats’ head coach chastised his team for failing to take advantage of the backing from the sell out crowd. The Wilcats put in a flat performance as they went down 4-3 to a last minute goal from Bracknell’s Jan Bendik on Saturday.
Some might have considered the Link Centre-based side unlucky but Aldridge said they got what they deserved.
“If I’m being completely honest I don’t think we deserved to win. We didn’t work hard enough in the first two periods and it cost us,” he said.
“I think we’ve been flat for the last two weeks now, it’s the wrong time of the season to be going through a spell like this.”
Aldridge had some tough words for his team in the locker room at the end of the game with owner Steve Nell even coming down from the stand to throw his two cents in.
Going into the final minute Aldridge had a hope that his side would be taking the game through over-time and into penalty shots.
“I didn’t think it (the goal) was coming, it was a tough bounce but they just wanted it more than us,” he said.
“It’s anybody’s game once it goes into over time, with four on the ice there’s a lot of space. To be honest we’d be looking to take it penalty shots, we’ve got good penalty shooters and Stevie Lyle in goal gives you a chance.”
Cats had briefly turned the game around after going down 1-0 early on as Henri Sandvik and Aaron Nell put them ahead 2-1. However, the first period ended with the Swindon side behind as Bees put two past netminder Lyle in quick succession.
It remained that way through the second period until the Cats scored in the third., but the home side would have to leave empty handed when Bendik got a lucky deflection past Lyle from a his last-minute slapshot.