SWINDON Wildcats must overturn a 3-2 deficit if they are to progress in the EPL play-offs following their quarter-final first-leg defeat to Milton Keynes Lightning.
Coming into this match at the Link Centre, Ryan Aldridge’s men had won their last seven matches, but they could not get past their gritty visitors and now have it all to do tomorrow night at the Skydome in Coventry for the second-leg.
The first period was a full-bloodied affair with both teams going full throttle to try and gain an early advantage, but it ended goalless.
Lightning took the lead early in the second period when Leigh Jamieson fired the puck beyond Stevie Lyle on 22.54 following a lapse of concentration in Cats defence.
But Aaron Nell drilled the hosts level on 24.22 when he got on the end of Floyd Taylor’s perfectly placed pass.
Jonas Hoog gave Cats plenty to cheer about on 37.15 when he put his side into the lead after fired beyond Stephen Wall.
But the third period belonged to the visitors as they punished Cats inability to keep control of the puck.
Janne Jokila pulled Lightning level on 44.33 after he put away Stanislav Lascek’s pass.
The killer blow came on 49.45 as Lascek gave the visitors the all-important lead after he was played in by Michael Farn.
Cats piled on the pressure in the dying stages of this play-off clash as they looked to pull level but they could not find a way past Wall.
Aldridge’s side now have to win by two clear goals tomorrow night (5.15pm) if they are to make the finals weekend in Coventry next month.