Peterborough Phantoms will need the main performance to go considerably better than the dress rehearsal did last night (March 21).
The city team were beaten 6-2 at Swindon in their last away game of the regular English Premier League season.
They will be back in Wiltshire next weekend in the quarter-finals of the play-offs when an improved performance and result will be required if they are to challenge for honours.
Two early goals in the space of 90 seconds from Tomasz Malasinski and Jan Kostal left Phantoms, who were without forwards Edgars Bebris and Luke Ferrara due to injury and Elite League activity respectively, trailing last night.
Both sides hit the pipes with Malasinski and Milan Baranyk the men thwarted before the home advantage grew courtesy of Jonas Hoog in the final minute of the opening session.
A series of smart Janis Auzins saves kept Swindon at bay in the early part of the second period, but he couldn’t prevent Hoog grabbing another goal seconds before the mid-point of the contest.
The first of two Marc Levers goals – which arrived on the powerplay - did at least put Phantoms on the board, but it never looked like being the launchpad for a comeback.
Two goals from Aaron Nell in the final session (to follow three assists earlier in the evening) saw to that and left Swindon in the driving seat to claim fourth place in the standings.
His efforts sandwiched a short-handed second Levers strike as he intercepted and struck while Phantoms killed a five-on-three penalty.
The city side must now beat fierce rivals Milton Keynes at Planet Ice tonight (5.30pm) to stand any chance of wrestling back fourth spot, but they will also require Swindon to be beaten in Manchester.
The team finishing higher selects when they stage their home leg of the play-off quarter-final.
7:09 Malasinski ass: Hoog/Nell
8:39 Kostal ass: Nell/Bullas
19:16 Hoog ass: Malasinski/Nell
29:58 Hoog ass: Whitfield/Harding
46:12 Nell ass: Whitfield/Hoog
57:44 Nell ass: Richardson/Harding
36:44 Levers (PP) ass: Pliskauskas/Koulikov
56:44 Levers (SH) unassisted