THE BESPOKE Guardians Swindon Wildcats lost their fourth and fifth National Ice Hockey League games in a row at the weekend following defeats by The Bees and Leeds Knights, respectively.

On Saturday night, the Wildcats lost 5-3 to The Bees at the Link Centre despite building an early two-goal lead. Meanwhile, Sunday night's action saw another gutsy display, but also another defeat as the Knights won 5-2 in Yorkshire to drop Swindon down to third in the table.

Since lifting the Autumn Cup on December 23, Swindon's strong squad has been decimated by Covid as players from other clubs at a variety of levels have had to be drafted in in order for fixtures to be fulfilled.

A humbling 9-4 reverse at home to Milton Keynes Lightning was perhaps the most brutal of the defeats in a game which featured much controversy both during and after the game.

But in two competitive but respectful contests at the weekend, Swindon made the best possible start against The Bees when Emil Svec finished off a move in the fifth minute. Svec then repeated the feat via Chris Jones and Aaron Nell again less than two minutes later.

Dominik Gabaj netted a powerplay goal with five seconds of the first period to play, only to see Nell fire a rocket home 49 seconds into the middle period.

Unfortunately for the Cats, that was as good as it got on Saturday as Gabaj netted once again following a brace by James Galazzi and a late fifth by Juha Lindgren.

On Sunday, Leeds' Brandon Whistle kicked the scoring off in the fifth minute before Kieran Brown doubled the hosts' advantage close to the end of the first period.

Loris Taylor halved the deficit for Swindon 18 seconds into the second period by poking into an empty net, and Nell tied the game up as an unlikely comeback gained momentum.

However, Leeds proved too strong as Cole Shudra netted before Brown completed his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt.