Peterborough Phantoms failed to pack a punch when slipping to a second successive home defeat despite the presence of a world champion boxer last night (December 7).
One-time heavyweight star Herbie Hide was on hand to drop the puck at Planet Ice, but the city team found themselves out on the canvas as in-form Swindon swooped for success.
Phantoms saw their hopes of finishing second in the English Premier League (a place they still retain) hit as they allowed a two-goal advantage to turn into a narrow reverse against a Wildcats side stretching their winning streak to five games.
And it would be difficult to argue that the Wiltshire outfit didn’t deserve the two points. They marginally out-shot and out-performed Phantoms despite having half-a-dozen players missing.
Phantoms chief Slava Koulikov admitted: “We started the game slowly, but managed to get ahead by the end of the first period.
“We played a lot better in the second period but it remained a one-goal game as we conceded sloppily.
“The game didn’t seem to be going anywhere in the third period. It was one of those games that dragged on without a lot happening and Swindon got the goals at the right time.
“We would probably have settled for a 50% return going into the weekend, but after winning a very tough match in Basingstoke on Saturday night, it is disappointing not to follow up at home.
“The guys were physically and mentally ready, but we ran into a good team. Swindon have gone five-and-zero lately for a reason.
“It is never nice losing games and there are definitely a couple of things I need to correct, but we have to remember the bigger picture.”
Swindon hit the front when defenceman Stephen Whitfield squeezed a shot past Phantoms netminder Janis Auzins, but two goals in as many minutes edged the hosts ahead.
Milan Baranyk tucked in a leveller from an acute angle before captain James Ferrara ripped a thunderous drive past Wildcats netminder Stevie Lyle.
Brother Luke Ferrara then extended the advantage early in the middle session, seconds after Phantoms’ first powerplay of the night had concluded.
But that was as good as it got for the hosts. Alex Symonds swiped the puck in just after the half-hour mark as Swindon reduced their arrears before completing a third period turnaround.
Aaron Nell’s perfectly-placed finish on a powerplay hauled them level before they hit the front late on when Jan Kostal gobbled up a rebound after a Nell shot had been saved.
Phantoms pulled Auzins with a minute still on the clock, but they couldn’t conjure a leveller to take the contest into overtime.
The city team have only one fixture this weekend – at home to Blackburn Hawks in the English Challenge Cup competition.
It is the first of half-a-dozen dead rubbers against lower-level sides with Phantoms unable to reach the latter stages of the competition from the North Group.
14:47 Baranyk ass: J. Ferrara
16:25 J. Ferrara ass: Pick/Bebris
24:09 L. Ferrara ass: Pliskauskas/Levers
7:42 Whitfield ass: Sandvik/Nell
30:49 Symonds ass: Bullas/Finlinson
47:31 Nell (PP) ass: Sandvik/Kostal
56:41 Kostal ass: Nell
Phantoms – Tom Norton