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SWINDON WILDCATS: Skinns encouraged by close encounters
LOSING by a single goal on a regular basis might not be the way Swindon’s players hoped their season would pan out, but netminder Dean Skinns insists there are positives to be taken from the unfortunate series of results.
Of the 16 times Wildcats have been defeated in the EPL this term, 11 of those occasions have been by just one goal, with Manchester being their chief tormentors.
Swindon’s opponents at the Link Centre tomorrow (5.45pm) have triumphed 4-3, 5-4 and 5-4, the latest of these being at Altrincham Ice Dome on Sunday, when the Wiltshire outfit came from four goals down only to be denied in overtime.
Nevertheless, Skinns was upbeat when questioned about the one-goal syndrome that has plagued the Wildcats so far in 2012/13.
“It’s a bit wearing when you’re always losing by a goal, but in a way it’s a good thing because it proves that we’re not really that far away,” he said.
“In some ways I think being 4-0 down in Manchester helped us because it was a bit of a character-builder for the team.
“It’s good for the team to know that they were up against a side who could win the league and we almost finished it in overtime.
“A lot of games this year have been really close, I think it’s only a few games that we’ve lost by more than the odd goal.
“For the players it’s frustrating and people talk about where we’d be without the overtime losses, but if we hadn’t got to overtime in the first place, we’d be bottom of the league.”
On the injury front, import forward Matias Perkkio and netminder Tom Murdy are nearing fitness but neither are expected to feature tomorrow.
Head coach Ryan Aldridge is waiting on verdicts on Nicky Watt and Jamie Hayes, while Lee Richardson’s involvement depends on his partner, who is expecting a baby any day now.
Meanwhile, Wildcats D-man Paul Swindlehurst has been called up to the Great Britain Under 20s squad for the upcoming World Championship (Division 1B) in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The towering 19-year-old was given the nod by coach Andre Payette and will line up alongside the likes of Andrew Melachrino, Luke Ferrara and Aaron Connolly.
The tournament will run from December 10-16 and GB are set to face hosts Ukraine, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland at Ice Palace Druzhba.
Swindlehurst has been involved in the Great Britain setup since he was selected for the under 18s in 2009/10.
Elsewhere, Swindon are to once again run their popular Kids Go Free promotion for the home game against Milton Keynes (6pm) on Sunday, December 2.
The EPL meeting is Swindon’s only game of the weekend and a rare Link Centre match-up on a Sunday night.