RYAN Aldridge admitted his Swindon side ‘needed to battle harder’ after the Wildcats surrendered a three-goal lead at Sheffield last night.
While the head coach was pleased to pick up a point on the road following the 5-4 overtime defeat, he conceded the Steeldogs’ physical approach in the English Premier League clash had thrown his side off-course.
“We didn’t match their intensity, we’ve got a different style of team to that,” he said.
“We should definitely have had a lot more powerplays than we got, they were playing hockey the way it was 10 years ago.
“We just needed to battle harder in dangerous areas. We weren’t tough enough and were a bit intimidated.
“Before the weekend I’d have definitely taken the point, but going 3-0 up and then losing a hockey game is hard to swallow.”
As they had done in the game against Manchester on Saturday night, Swindon raced into an early lead at iceSheffield.
Centre Aaron Nell converted on the powerplay inside three minutes (2.54) and then doubled the advantage with an even-handed effort at 7.55.
In-form Finn Matias Perkkio added a third on the powerplay just before the first break (18.45), and Wildcats were on course for an away victory.
However, in the second period, Sheffield came racing back. Greg Wood got the hosts going on the powerplay at 26.26 and then Pavel Gomeniuk reduced the lead to a single goal (33.19).
Welshman Jamie Hayes gave Swindon breathing space as again they made the most of a one-man advantage (35.08), but 42 seconds later Edgars Bebris registered at the other end.
Just three seconds before the second period was up, a well-placed effort from Ben Morgan levelled the scores.
Following a goalless third period, it was down to Wood to get his second of the night in overtime to hand Sheffield victory, with Wildcats earning a point for their troubles.
Despite his disappointment at the defeat, Aldridge was upbeat about the performance and the opening weekend in general.
“The boys played well,” he said. “Aaron had a great weekend, he worked probably the hardest I’ve ever seen him, but a lot of the guys did so I’m really happy with them.”
Aldridge is scheduled to name his permanent team captain for the 2012/13 season tomorrow.