DEFEAT in the Autumn Cup semi final against Peterborough Phantoms last weekend has inspired Swindon Wildcats to bounce back and record their first four-point weekend in three weeks, according to defenceman Ben Nethersell.

Wildcats were downed 7-6 over two legs against the Phantoms last Friday night, but a chance for instant revenge has been presented to Aaron Nell’s men as they welcome Basingstoke Bison to the Link Centre tonight (6.15pm) before hitting the road tomorrow to face the in-form Phantoms.

Currently second in the NIHL One table, a win against both the Phantoms and Bison would go a long way in helping Wildcats achieve their main goal of topping the division at the end of the season.

Nethersell said: “We’re playing against two really good teams, but I feel like these games have come at the right time.

“Last weekend in the Autumn Cup we were unlucky because we played really well, if we play like that every time we take to the ice then we can beat any team.

“Winning the league is probably our biggest target now.

“That’s been our main goal from the start, and beating Peterborough and Basingstoke this weekend will go a long way in helping us to achieve that goal.

“If we keep playing the way we have been, we are more than capable of finishing the season top.

“Whatever team does finish top will have the edge over other teams in the league, plus for us it would be a massive achievement.”

Despite missing out on the chance to defend their Autumn Cup trophy, 20-year-old Nethersell admits one less distraction can help the Cats focus more on the job in hand with regards to the league.

Challenges will still be faced though - especially after completing six games in just 10 days last weekend.

The heavy schedule took its toll on some of Swindon’s older players, according to Nethersell - who said rest following last Sunday’s narrow victory over Invicta Dynamos was necessary.

He said: “It was tough, especially playing Invicta on Sunday.

“All of the boys were tired, especially some of the older ones.

“It was good fun though, and we’ve all had our rest and now we’re ready for another big weekend.

“Last Friday was bitter-sweet, and everyone will use that for motivation for this weekend.

“We want to get back at Basingstoke and Peterborough.

“We’ve got a very good team, and every player can play in every situation.

“Especially on Friday night, everyone was on form – you couldn’t see a difference in level between everyone really.

“It’s set the tone now, if everyone can keep those levels up I think we can turn into a dominant team.”