SWINDON Wildcats skipper Jan Kostal has praised the unity of his side after they claimed a 3-1 win over Basingstoke Bison in the opening leg of the Autumn Cup final on Friday.

Kostal, who was on the scoresheet along with Stevie Whitfield and player-coach Aaron Nell, said there was plenty of positives to take from the rescheduled trip apart from the scoreline.

The two-goal cushion sets the Wiltshire side up nicely for this Friday’s second-leg, where the Bison will visit the Link Centre on Friday evening.

“It wasn’t an easy game and all of the guys played really hard,” he said.

“It was tough and we played like one team which is an important thing to do.

“I’m proud of the team, we played like one man on the ice.

“Of course, Basingstoke were the better team for a couple of minutes and we were under pressure a few times but that is normal.

“You can’t be the better team against Basingstoke for the full 60 minutes but we were excellent under pressure and we won all of the battles.

“We put our bodies in the way of their shots and that was reason we were able to win on Friday night.

“In the big games you recognise how strong the team is, especially under the pressure of it being a cup final.”

While the Cats do hold the upper hand going into the crucial second leg, Kostal says there is still plenty to think about.

The last time Bison came to the Link Centre they were 5-2 winners, something Kostal would like to avoid as the Cats eye some overdue silverware.

“They’re a really good team and next Friday we need to play the same game as we played against them on Friday,” said Kostal.

“We need to play like one man again this week.

“We’ve gone all the way thorough the cup and now we are in the middle of a 120-minute game.

“I think it is important for the team, we need to learn how to play under pressure because we have two cup finals this year.

“It’s like poker, we need to go all in.

“We need to stay on the ground, not noses up because they are a quality team and we need to do the same again on Friday evening.”