Shootout blow for Aldridge's Cats
HEAD coach Ryan Aldridge could not fault his players after Swindon lost out in a shootout at Bracknell last night.
With the scores locked at 2-2 after overtime of the EPL clash, five players from each side missed their penalty shots before Lukas Smital won it for Bracknell.
However, that did not tell the whole story as Swindon travelled to the Hive without D-men Shane Moore and Joe Baird, while Stevie Whitfield played with a bug.
That left experienced forward Lee Richardson filling in at the back, giving the away D a makeshift look.
And Aldridge was philosophical afterwards, saying: “I think we’ve just got to keep going. It was a tough weekend, two overtime losses (the first to Sheffield), in the last couple of years we haven’t been good in overtime.
“I thought we were due an overtime win last year so we’re well overdue.
“Skinnsy (Dean Skinns) was phenomenal tonight and in the shootout, and for Lee Richardson to go back there and do the job he did was outstanding.
“I guess you’ve just got to take the plusses out of the game. For a weekend where we were short-staffed, we’ve got to be happy with that.
“A point was good and we’re growing as a team and it’s building character, so I’m happy with the result.”
Wildcats got off to a perfect start just 16 seconds in, as Swedish star Jonas Hoog was left unmarked and he duly flicked into the bottom left corner.
The lead didn’t last four minutes as the Bees drew level. Rob Lamey broke down the left and his simple pass inside was directed low past Skinns by Marcel Petran (4.02).
Continuing that momentum, Bracknell took advantage of Paul Swindlehurst’s bin with Martin Masa poking into the net on the stretch for a powerplay goal (8.50).
Having soaked up a good deal of pressure, the visitors equalised heading into the first break through Hoog (14.48).
The second period saw plenty of chances, but neither side could make the breakthrough despite lots of near-misses.
Swindon would have gone in the happier having survived bins for Nicky Watt, Swindlehurst and Chris Jones, while Bees saw off two minutes without Alan Lack.
The third period followed much the same pattern, with Sam Bullas and Kapicka twice, spending time in the penalty box.
After a scoreless overtime, Matias Perkkio, Hoog, Aaron Nell, Kapicka and Jan Melichar failed to net while Skinns did superbly down the other end to keep it at 0-0, only for Smital to deliver the killer goal.
On Saturday, Swindon came back from three goals down against Sheffield at the Link Centre but still ended up on the end of defeat, losing 6-5 in overtime.
Greg Wood put the visitors ahead when he powered his way through the middle of the rink from a defensive position and easily slotted home.
With six minutes left in the first period, Sheffield added a second against the run of play with Edgars Bebris sliding a shot beneath netminder Skinns.
The advantage became 3-0 in the second period courtesy of Pavel Gomeniuk, who shot home emphatically from 10 yards out.
Despite being well behind, the hosts did not lose heart. Watt ripped the gloves off to take on Craig Elliott, with the referee eventually having to take down the Swindon man in order to stop the fight.
At 26.49, Kapicka started the fightback when he seized on Nell’s parried shot to fire into the net from close range before Watt stepped in for Nell to take on Derek Campbell. Bullas cracked home a loose puck and the hosts had parity a matter of seconds later as Kapicka finished off Matias Perkkio’s pass.
The good work was somewhat undone when Swindon conceded a soft fourth to Ben Morgan with less than four minutes of the third period played.
But the home side came back again with Jamie Hayes finishing following good work by Perkkio and Chris Jones and 30 seconds later Hoog’s effort was ruled out, before the Swede did convert moments later.
Wood tucked away his second to level the game once more, before Perkkio pinged a shot off the pipes in the closing seconds.
And it was the visitors that took two points in overtime thanks to Campbell.