Saturday evening saw the Wildcats back on home ice to take on the Manchester Phoenix. A Jonas Höög hat-trick inspired the Wildcats to a narrow 3-2 win.
The first period started with the Wildcats in control, Adam Finlinson and Jan Kostal linked up in the early few shifts with the Cats captain seeing his shot turned away by Stephen Fone. The Wildcats did open the scoring when Jonas Höög scored his first of the night. The super Swede picked the puck up and moved it around the defence before deking the puck around Fone and sliding it into the back of net.
At 11:52 the Wildcats doubled their advantage. The same trio of Neil Liddiard, Max Birbraer & Jonas Höög linked up to give the Swede his second of the night. Max Birbraer shot the puck towards the net and Höög was able to deflect the puck into the back of the Manchester net. As the period ticked by Manchester created more scoring opportunities when Robin Kovar set up Vaclav Meidl who saw his shot cannon of the pads of Lyle.
The second period saw the Phoenix battle back into the contest, they got their break at 30:10, a Swindon turnover allowed Vaclav Meidl to pass the puck across the crease to Robin Kovar who fired past a floored Lyle. Swindon went close again this time through Tomasz Malasinski, the Polish international moved into the offensive zone and fired a big slapshot from distance which was batted away by Fone.
The Cats did regain their two goal advantage when Tomasz Malasinski drove the Cats to a superbly worked goal. Tape to tape passing allowed Malasinski to slide the puck back to Jonas Höög who had the entire net to aim at and sealed his hat-trick easily at 36:47.
The final period saw the Phoenix chasing the game, Swindon created chances again through Kyle Smith and Floyd Taylor but neither could beat the Phoenix defence. Manchester found the back of the net again at 44:50. A centering puck from Meidl was turned in at the top of the crease by Robin Kovar to bring the Phoenix back within one goal.
Immediately after scoring the Cats nearly scored their fourth. Kyle Smith saw a shot saved which nearly dropped over the line before the puck was recycled back to Matt Selby who's rocket of a shot cannoned back off the crossbar.
The Phoenix pulled Fone with the last minute of the game underway but they couldn't breach the Wildcats goal as they sealed a 3-2 home victory.
Man of the Match:
Swindon Wildcats - Adam Finlinson
Manchester Phoenix - Vaclav Meidl