HEAD coach Ryan Aldridge praised his players after Swindon Wildcats secured a third win in a row at Telford last night.
Aaron Nell’s opportunistic effort following Dan Scott’s mistake (58.37) gave the visitors a 2-1 victory in a game low on action and entertainment.
It was the first time this season that Swindon had managed three wins on the spin and the result propelled them up to sixth in the EPL table.
Link Centre chief Aldridge was delighted that his team were fulfilling their potential after he challenged them to improve eight days ago.
“To come out with the win was great,” said Aldridge.
“I wasn’t expecting that break to get the sneaky goal and when Aaron’s got pressure he normally puts the puck in the net.
“We needed these three wins. I had my piece to say on Tuesday (last week) and I’m very happy with the boys now. They have come out and shown me what they are capable of.
“It’s very tight in the table but we’ve got to keep this ball rolling and keep playing the way we can play.”
Aldridge was particularly impressed with the opening 20 minutes, in which neither team found the net but Wildcats had the higher-quality chances.
“I think that was the best first period we’ve played in this building since I’ve been in Swindon,” continued Aldridge.
“I don’t know if we normally come here in a funny mood but we normally go out there and stink the building out.
“But I thought we played good tonight, although there was a few silly mistakes. I thought it was the best first period we’ve played in a long time.”
It was a struggle for the Tigers to muster any shots of note in the opening period, while at the other end Jan Kostal peppered Declan Lyle’s goal with plenty of efforts.
Swindon were handed a major opportunity to open the scoring when Joe Miller was given a 5+game penalty for high-sticks on Alex Symonds.
However, Michal Pavlu was as close as anyone went during that spell, although Sam Bullas was not far away from tipping in defenceman Aku Pekkarinen’s slapshot.
Matters appeared to be heading in a more lively direction at the start of the second period as the hosts got on the scoreboard (21.54).
With players from both teams seemingly waiting for play to stop after a coming together in Swindon’s defensive zone, Callum Bowley zipped down the left wing and centred for Adam Walker to gleefully tap in at the far post.
Scott was a fraction away from doubling the lead before Swindon found a way through at 29.04.
Pekkarinen’s off-target shot was pawed away by Ryan and eventually the puck arrived back at the feet of the Wildcats import just inside the attacking zone, and he sent home a top-shelf effort.
The third period was a virtual non-event until Nell found the winner, but Miika Kiviranta should probably have out the hosts a goal up before that, missing a clean connection when bearing down on Stevie Lyle.
However, with the seconds ticking away, Scott was robbed by Nell on the blueline and the Swindon forward sent his wristshot low last Ryan’s left pad.