Our first look at the Hangar of 2011/12 at the Swindon Wildcats was the Jets second look at the team this season following the 4-2 win at the Link Centre last Wednesday. Peter Russell had swapped benches over the summer and directed things from the opposition bench and had to be a happy coach with Swindon scoring just 30 seconds into the game.
Strangely Swindon held on to their lead for the entire first period and it took an early 2nd period powerplay to allow Slough to get into the game. Ryan Watt converted for Slough while his brother served a penalty and then rightly so Slough took the lead thanks to a Tom Carlon goal however Swindon still weren’t lying down and accepted defeat as with 53 seconds left in the middle period Cesky levelled up.
The home team Jets turned it up in the third period and the game was won with goals from Adam Calder, John Connolly and Darius Pliskauskas. A late shorthanded goal from Cesky spoiled what was an otherwise brilliant period for the Jets but enough was done to grab the victory and end pre-season with a .500 record.
It’s fair to say that the Wildcats failed to provide the challenge that the Bees had at the weekend. The Bees had more spark compared to the Wildcats, they seemed hungrier and the game seemed faster. Maybe it’s the Pinc and Cesky effect? I’ve always got the impression watching both players that are happy with their names on the scoresheet in the points column irrespective of the result.
Interestingly, an internet poll this week had Bracknell suggested as a team to win the EPL in 2011/12. Strange as I doubt everyone around the league will have travelled to see Bracknell play yet this year so to me it just suggests that more Bees fans voted in the poll than any other. No doubt they are a much improved team over previous seasons but if they are the best that the EPL has to offer then Tony Hand, Paul Dixon, Steve Moria and Doug Sheppard will only be wandering what they’ve done wrong in team selection for this season.
Pre-season is all about getting some game experience into the team ahead of competition, all about working out lines and tactics and the four games have served well. Despite two losses in there it’s good as it’s shown what needs to be done ahead of there being points on the line. It’s good to have that tough challenge so you know that you can work harder in those final couple of training sessions before Manchester arrive on Saturday to start the league.
There have been those who say “it’ll be a long season ahead for us” but just remember, when we played the Bees we missed an import on Saturday and the best British power forward in the league on Sunday, both huge absences and we lost out to a team at full strength desperate to prove they weren’t the basement team of the last couple of seasons. Think also that we are yet to play with the full squad, Mark Galazzi has missed out on both Swindon games and as just said players were missing for both Bees games.
It all starts Saturday and the test will come no tougher than the Phoenix.