Swindon Wildcats saw a weekend of mixed results as they fell in in a penalty shoot-out with the Basingstoke Bison on Saturday evening, before completing a late comeback to seal a narrow 2-1 win in Gillingham against the Invicta Dynamos.
After the disappointment of getting knocked out of the Autumn Cup on Friday night, Aaron Nell took his troops to Basingstoke to face the new look Bison side for the first time this season. Ashley Tait’s side made a bright start and were quickly 1-0 up when Richard Bordowski fired in from close range on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
Into the middle period and the Wildcats would fall further behind when Russ Cowley was on hand to tap a loose puck in at the back door, to double the hosts lead to 2-0. Later in the second period it would be the Wildcats who scored when head coach Aaron Nell was able to shoot past Alex Mettam, converting a nice powerplay move.
The final period would be the most successful one for the Wildcats with them pushing harder and harder for the goal that would bring the game level. With around 6 minutes to play, Sam Bullas was fed a puck in the slot and the influential forward ripped the puck into the top corner and set off in a wild celebration in front of the away fans.
The game went right to the death and with Jan Kostal and Chris Jones unable to get the go ahead penalty shot goal, the puck was on the stick of Aaron Nell who raced in and beat Mettam only for his shot to slam against the frame of the goal and give the Bison the extra point.
Into Sunday and the Wildcats would come up against an Invicta side whose worth ethic backed up by a superb netminding performance from Connor Morris nearly secured their first win of the season.
In the first period Matt Foord was on hand to convert a loose puck past a semi-stranded Renny Marr to open the scoring for the Mos. What followed after was nearly two periods of outstanding effort from both teams, Swindon looking to put puck on net and tie the game up and the Dynamos doing everything in their power to stop that puck going over the line.
Connor Morris was blocking everything but his defence was finally breached with just over ten minutes to play. Eliot Randall, having one of his most impressive games of the season, fed a pass to Loris Taylor who scored from the second chance. With the game looking destined for overtime, Ondrej Zosiak pulled down Chris Jones and referee Brooks awarded a penalty shot.
The Wildcats Welsh forward stepped up and fired under the glove of Morris and the Wildcats had around three minutes to close the game out and ensure the points went back to Wiltshire. As the final buzzer sounded, the Cats hectic schedule of 6 games in ten days was over and the focus turned to the upcoming weekend with huge games against the Basingstoke Bison and the Peterborough Phantoms.