After four wins in a row the Wildcats returned to the Swindon Ice Arena on Saturday to take on the Peterborough Phantoms. Despite missing Toms Rutkis the Cats got off to the perfect start.
Despite losing the opening puck drop the Cats scored after just ten seconds. Tomasz Malasinski broke down the right wing and slid the puck to the opposite wing for Jonas Höög to slam the puck home past Adam Long to send the Cats fans wild. Swindon were piling on the pressure, first Adam Finlinson had a shot well saved before Tomasz Malasinski also saw an effort go just past the post.
The Cats great start continued at 5:55 when they doubled their lead. On the powerplay Höög turned from scorer to provider. A great stretch pass from the Swedish import was tapped in at the back door by Tomasz Malasinski. Swindon began to find themselves in a bit of penalty trouble and the Phantoms were beginning to create better scoring chances.
Darius Pliskauskas and Owen Griffiths both had chances well saved by Stevie Lyle. At 12:14 a big open ice hit by Max Birbraer was assessed as a 2+10 check to the head penalty, and when Floyd Taylor cleared the puck over the glass a minute later the Phantoms had a powerplay with two extra skaters. They made their man advantage count when Martins Susters poked the puck home from in close after Lyle's initial save couldn't be cleared. Despite some pushing and shoving at the end of the period the opening stanza of hockey was over.
The middle period the Phantoms came out strong and forced Lyle into some big early saves. Marc Levers and Petr Stepanek nearly found their way through but the pads of the Cats netminder denied the Phantoms forwards both times. At 23:35 the Phantoms managed to breach the Cats defence again.
Marc Levers and Tom Norton combined to set up Australian international Wehebe Darge who poked the puck through Lyle from in close. The goal came whilst the momentum was well and truly with thr visiting side. Swindon began to create a few chances of their own. Jonas Höög set up Tomasz Malasinski but the Polish international found his shot fly just wide of the far post.
Aaron Nell then had a chance when he broke down the right but his wristshot was turned away by the blocker of Long. As the middle period drew to a close the former Wildcat forward gave the Phantoms the lead. Owen Griffiths pounced on a loose puck and his backhanded shot found its way into the top right corner of Lyle's net with the goal being timed at 38:24.
The final period was all Swindon and the got the goal they needed to get back in the game at 41:05. Aaron Nell scored what could only be described as a true Aaron Nell goal. He sped down the right wing, used the defence as a screen and unleashed a lethal shot into the top corner of the goal. The assists on the goal being given to Jonas Höög and Stevie Whitfield. The Cats continued to press and were consistently testing Long as Jonas Höög went close again.
At 46:23 Jan Kostal scored what would be the game winning goal. Some good work behind the net from Aaron Nell saw the puck bundle in front of the net and Kostal was able to pounce on the loose puck and fire into the top corner.
Swindon's dominance continued at 51:50 when Sam Bullas scored almost the mirror of the fourth goal. Max Birbraer behind the net found Sam Bullas who tapped in from close range to seal the fifth goal of the night for the home side.
The game came to an end and the Cats had secured their 5th win in a row, and having faced only 4 shots in the last period, came from behind to get the win. Sunday evening sees the Cats travel to Telford looking for their sixth win in a row.
Man of the match:
Swindon Wildcats - Jonas Höög
Peterborough Phantoms - Marc Levers