THE Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats head coach Aaron Nell says his team’s response to their opening play-off defeat gives him confidence ahead of a crucial round of games this weekend.

Swindon lost 3-0 to Peterborough Phantoms as the NIHL National Division play-offs began last Saturday before scoring late to win 4-3 the following evening.

An away victory apiece followed the same pattern as the other meeting between Basingstoke Bison and Sheffield Steeldogs – leaving Group B finely poised ahead of the next double-header.

Looking back, Nell was relieved to see his team dramatically increase their standards in the second play-off game.

He said: “We weren’t very good on Saturday night, especially after going back and watching the video. Peterborough certainly deserved to win, and we’ve got to be better at home.

“Now, on Sunday, we showed a lot of character in a very tough building to play in. For us to go in there and get a win says a lot to me about this team and it shows how much the players want it.

“It’s all back to square one again. All the away teams won last weekend in our group, so it’s about winning our home games from now on. If you do that then you’ve always got a chance to go through.”

In the second round of Group B play-off games, Swindon take on the side who finished just three points below them in Sheffield.

The Wildcats beat the Steeldogs four times during the regular season but lost six others and drew a cup match 1-1.

Nell knows the weekend’s games will not only be extremely difficult, but they could also be the difference between qualifying for finals weekend and not.

He said: “Sheffield are a really good team who move the puck really well offensively. They’ve got really good players too, and I think we pretty much split our games this season.

“We had two really close games with them in the cup, so we know we need to be at our best to win.

“We need to take our chances when we can get them, and we have to play a lot better than we did last week.

“I’m sure we’re going to be better than we were last Saturday, if we are then we’ll have a chance to win.”