Ice cool Cats head into play-offs in red hot form
5:30am Monday 17th March 2014 in By Michael Reeves, Deputy sports editor
SWINDON Wildcats head coach Ryan Aldridge believes that his side are peaking at the right time after securing another weekend double.
Having beaten EPL leaders Manchester Phoenix on the Saturday night, Lee Richardson’s goal was enough to separate Cats and Bracknell Bees at the Hive.
The two wins over the weekend have stretched Cats winning run to four matches and they have now had three shut outs in a row.
“Absolutely,” Aldridge said when asked if he side was peaking at the right time. “We have been beat once before and had a little lull, now we are peaking again, the boys’ spirits are high. They know what they have to do to be successful.
“Everyone played great tonight, we are on a nice little roll.
“We are playing good team defence and that is key for us, because we have been struggling with that.
“Stevie (Lyle) is playing massive for us, he stops what he can see. He has been playing phenomenal. He is more confident because he knows that boys are doing well in front of him and there are no dodgy rebounds and he smothers everything.”
Aldridge also praised Bees netminder Alex Mettam, who claimed his side’s man of the match award for a stunning display.
“I think Mettam had a great game, I don’t think he’ll have another game like that, he had a bit of luck on his side. It was a great goal, it was an unbelievable finish, he saw the goalie go down and Richie (Richardson) knew where he was going to go so it was a big goal for us.”
The game at the Hive was all about the two sides netminders, Lyle and Mettam. They were both in fine form, claimed the man of the match awards and had any lesser stoppers involved this match would have been incredibly high-scoring.
As it was, it was down to a late second period strike from Richardson after he slotted home from Jonas Hoog’s pass on 38.13.
And even as the puck hit the back of the net, you got the feeling that was going to be the winner given the form of the two goaltenders – it was that kind of match.
Yes, Cats, on the back of three successive wins, were error strewn in the first period, but given the effort they put in against the league leaders on Saturday night, it was understandable they started slowly.
In an entertaining second period, both sides rained in shots on the others’ goal. Some were comfortable for Mettam and Lyle, while several, including Floyd Taylor’s 31st minute strike had you on the edge of your seat.
Having secured two shut outs in their last two matches, Cats were determined to make it three in a row for Lyle as they closed the game out in a fiercely contested final period.
Cats had made the perfect start to the weekend as they secured their third successive win as they beat EPL leaders Manchester Phoenix 2-0 at the Link Centre.
Having gone into the match on Saturday following superb wins at Basingstoke Bison and Milton Keynes Lightning, Aldridge’s men worked incredibly hard to earn the two points.
It was another man-of-the-match performance from netminder Lyle as he claimed his second shut out in a row, while Aaron Nell and Sam Smith struck in the first and final period respectively to secure the victory.