THE Swindon Wildcats fell to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Basingstoke Bison at Planet Ice despite holding a two goal advantage.
Max Birbraer’s second double in as many days had seen the Wildcats take the initiative, but after drawing level, a powerplay goal and a late strike was the difference between the two teams.
Swindon took the lead in the fifth minute through Birbraer much to the delight of the substantial travelling contingent.
Robin Kovar had the first shot which was initially saved by Tomas Hiadlovsky, but it fell to Birbraer who fired the Wildcats ahead.
The 36-year-old doubled up for the second game in a row five minutes later when Hiadlovsky had another shocker in the home goal.
He got caught behind the net before being dispossessed by Michael Stratford. He was then able to find Birbaer to tap home from close range.
In the closing moments of the first period the Wildcats did well to see out a powerplay following Stevie Whitfield’s two minute penalty for slashing as the Cats held their 2-0 lead to the break.
The second period was all about defence for the visitors as they looked to hold on to their two goal advantage.
Despite being under spells of substantial pressure for long periods of time, the Cats did well to keep the home side out.
Bison moved the puck around well, but were unable to find that all important breakthrough as Stevie Lyle made a string of saves, including a fantastic effort to deny Daniel Davies.
Swindon’s only real chance came when Jonas Hoog broke free down the right-hand-side with 10 minutes remaining, but the Swede couldn’t find a way past Hiadlovsky.
However, Bison did manage to claw one back before the break as Aaron Connolly redirected Rene Jarolin’s effort past Lyle in the 36th minute as the period finished 2-1.
Four minutes into the final period the Wildcats were level again. Joe Rand did well to get on the end of Tomas Karpov’s pass to poke home an equaliser.
Ollie Stone was then handed a two minute penalty for tripping which proved to be costly as Ciaran Long scored a powerplay goal in the 49th minute, following good work from Tomas Karpov.
After a late time out, Swindon opted to pull Lyle but fell further behind when Long grabbed his second to seal a 4-2 win for the hosts.