Wildcats miss a cutting edge
WILDCATS’ finishing touch evaded them as they were edged out 2-1 by Peterborough at Planet Ice last night.
Missing Finnish import Matias Perkkio through illness, Swindon constantly found themselves thwarted by home netminder Damien King, who was in fine form.
Michal Kapicka was the only visiting player to register on the night when he crashed home in the closing moments to finish off a flowing counter-attack.
But by that point, efforts in the first and second period from Tom Carlon and Jeff Glowa respectively were enough to give the Phantoms victory.
Last night’s loss, coupled with the defeat at the hands of Slough on Friday, meant Wildcats finished the weekend with no points to show for their efforts, a state of affairs that left forward Sam Bullas disappointed.
“It was one of those days, to be honest. I think the goalie played really well and kept them in it all game,” he said.
“I think we could have done a bit more by making him move and hitting better shots from better angles.
“There’s a lot to improve on and a lot to improve on fast.
“We could have done better but we were also quite unlucky as we just couldn’t get the puck in the net.
“For the majority of the game we actually outplayed them, but we had an import out and that makes a difference.”
The opening period provided plenty of fast, end to end hockey for the watching supporters, but unfortunately for Wildcats it did not provide a goal.
Kapicka was a whisker away from opening the scoring while Jozef Sladok was binned, and other early efforts from Lee Richardson and Aaron Nell suggested Swindon were well and truly in the game.
However, Carlon dealt a sucker punch at 18.20 when the puck dropped fortuitously to him in front of the net and Dean Skinns - who previously had not had much to do - was unable to prevent the opener.
The best-laid plans made at the first break were turned upside down at 24.07 as slack defence resulted in the puck drifting across the goal and perfectly into the path of Glowa, who gleefully slammed into the top-left corner.
Peterborough were much more of an attacking threat in the second period and it took the visitors several minutes to compose themselves.
However, once they upped their intensity, they managed to stem the flow of Phantoms attacks, without creating a great deal themselves.
That said, Jamie Hayes and Nicky Watt had chances while Bullas nearly dived into the net himself in his desperate attempts to pull a goal back.
The final period summed up a frustrating night for Swindon.
Kapicka and Nell both threatened early on, before the former was left shaking his head after pinging a shot against the pipes from all of two yards.
Jan Melichar and Shane Moore performed sterling work to keep out Ondrej Lauko, and Maris Ziedins was denied by a superb save from Skinns when one on one.
Wildcats failed to capitalise on a six on four powerplay situation and after Skinns again kept out a Ziedins effort, Kapicka pulled one back at 58.22.
A rapid counter-attack saw Nell play a diagonal pass to the Czech, who crashed home a spectacular strike on the angle.
But ultimately Peterborough held out as Wildcats were unable to force any further opportunities.
Swindon head coach Ryan Aldridge said afterwards: “I thought in the first period we were the better team. They scored a bit of a lucky goal, if you ask me.
“Second period we played the opposite, we didn’t work hard enough or battle, we were just flicking the puck away and it was turnover after turnover.
“Yes, we got a bit of a bounce back in the third period, but it was too little, too late really.
“It was a nice goal from Kapicka but we shouldn’t have been in that situation. That middle period killed us. We have to play 60 minutes every night.”