STEVIE Whitfield says it is important Swindon Wildcats claim all four points this weekend as they look to turn up the heat on NIHL South One leaders Basingstoke Bison.

After back-to-back NIHL Cup fixtures, the Cats return to league action this evening as they host Bracknell Bees at the Link Centre, before travelling to Milton Keynes Thunder 24 hours later.

Bracknell have been familiar opponents for Aaron Nell’s side over recent weeks, as today’s clash will be their third meeting in six days.

Both teams have claimed a win each in the previous two contests, and D-man Whitfield is expecting a physical encounter.

In the league standings, the Cats trail second-placed Peterborough Phantoms, who are level on points with the Bison, by eight points.

“At the moment, I think the league is a bit out of our hands so all we can do is keep winning and if someone does slip up, we want to be in a position to catch them,” said Whitfield.

“These are two must-win games this weekend, starting with a big game against Bracknell, who obviously have some quality.

“With the past two games being dead rubbers in the cup, there hasn’t really been much intensity about them. It’s a fresh start for us to get back into the league.

“We will be looking to get a better start than when we played them on New Year’s Day, although we obviously managed to pull out a result in the third period.”

The festive period has been kind to the Cats, as they were victorious in all but two of their six fixtures.

Whitfield was on hand to clinch one of those wins, as his overtime winner saw the Cats claim victory over Peterborough.

With a bit of momentum gained, the 27-year-old thinks it is important Swindon capitalise while they can, starting at the weekend.

“I enjoyed the games over the Christmas period because we were playing a lot of hockey,” he added.

“You get into a groove of just having to play so many games and it has bought us together as a unit. Hopefully we take that momentum and roll it into the weekend.

“The cups are big for us too, so if we can keep building, that will only be a good thing.”