SWINDON Wildcats lost their third successive English Premier League match against an impressive Telford Tigers outfit.
Cats, who went into the clash at the Telford Ice Rink looking to make up for a miserable display in defeat to Peterborough Phantoms 24 hours previously, struggled to create chances in the West Midlands and had netminder Stevie Lyle to thank for the margin of their loss not being wider.
Swindon produced a battling, energetic and at times dynamic performance in the first period and deserved to be level at the break. However, with 34 seconds remaining before the buzzer, Max Birbraer was afforded too much time in the Cats’ D-zone and he produced a fizzing slapshot to beat Stevie Lyle.
In the second period, Wildcats had to soak up wave after wave of Tigers pressure and, having barely exited their D-zone for the three minutes prior to the goal, Joe Miller doubled the hosts’ advantage on the powerplay at 29.56.
Swindon were nigh-on impotent in the second period and, having given themselves a mountain to climb in the final 20-minute session, they found the gradient getting even steeper at 44.09.
Scott McKenzie saw his initial shot saved by Lyle but, when Blahoslav Novak centred the puck from the rebound, McKenzie was on hand to tuck home from close range.
With Aaron Nell serving a 10-minute penalty for misconduct in the third period, Swindon struggled for any kind of rhythm and, though Lyle remained resolute in goal, his offence couldn’t make an impact.