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SWINDON WILDCATS: Play-off defeat still hurts - Watt
5:50am Friday 20th April 2012 in Ice Hockey
NICKY Watt has revealed Swindon are still hurting following their English Premier League play-off exit at the quarter-final stage.
The Wildcats lost out to Manchester over two legs after finishing seventh in the regular season table.
And Watt said: “We had a slow start before Christmas but after that we were the form team and we’ve all got a bitter taste in our mouths about losing in the quarter-finals of the play-offs.
“We felt after the first game we should have been a few goals up.
“Even when we went a goal down over there we felt it was still do-able, but then they got a few quick goals and that killed us.”
Nevertheless, Watt added that it had been a very enjoyable season for himself and the squad.
“The crowd have been great all year, they turned out in numbers and it was a lot different to the last time I was here,” he said.
“The more fans there are the louder and better it is.”
On the players that stuck out for him during the season, Watt said: “The partnership of Aaron Nell, Jonas Hoog and Lee Richardson did an amazing job, and before he got injured Tom Murdy was the best goalie in the league.”
- IT HAS been a mixed year away from the ice for Swindon Wildcats according to general manager Steve Nell.
The club continues to make a loss due to a lack of sponsorship, but increased attendances have gone some way to help and good displays on the ice have improved morale at the Link Centre.
Nell and others involved in the running of the club will spend the summer working to bring in more sponsors to help the club progress, but admitted things were still tough.
“We have had a fall in sponsorship which we have struggled to replace, and that has been a real problem for us,” Nell said.
“We would love to have a big backer like some teams but they are very hard to find, and everyone is after the same thing. We have to take what we can get, and we are grateful to the sponsors we have worked with during the season.
“We will never stop working trying to bring more sponsors on board, but we have to accept it is hard out there at the moment.”
While thing away from the rink continue to be tough for the Wildcats, Nell was pleased with what the team managed to achieve on the ice despite them failing to make it to finals day in Coventry.
“We have got more wins and more points than we did last year, and we have to be pleased with that,” he said. “At the end of the day we have kept seventh place, but we have performed much better and picked up some great results, so we have to say there is progress there.
“When we got to the play-offs we knew we would have a chance, but we also knew that Manchester were the second best team in the league.
“We obviously didn’t manage to get there this time, but there are lots of positives to take away from a good season.”
Nell was also full of praise for head coach Ryan Aldridge and is already looking forward to welcoming him back for the 2012/13 season.
“We never really ask the question with Ryan, and we always expect him to come back because he loves the club,” he said.
“He does a brilliant job here and works tirelessly to help everything both on and off the ice.
“A lot of what we did this season was down to him and we have to thank him for that, and all of the work he puts in with the junior programme here too.”