Lack of scoring touch proves costly for Leeds Chiefs at Swindon Wildcats

NOT for the first time this season, Leeds Chiefs paid the price for not being clinical enough in front of goal when they went down 5-1 at Swindon Wildcats on Saturday night.

By Phil Harrison
Sunday, 15th March 2020, 8:26 pm
Richard Bentham scored on the power play to make it 3-1 at Swindon, but Leeds Chiefs got no closer and went down 5-1. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss.
Richard Bentham scored on the power play to make it 3-1 at Swindon, but Leeds Chiefs got no closer and went down 5-1. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss.

The defeat stretched the Chiefs’ losing streak to six games following Friday night’s painful reverse at the hands of Hull Pirates, who overturned a three-goal deficit to run out deserved 9-6 winners at Elland Road.

With some harsh words ringing in their ears from player-coach Sam Zajac over what he felt was a third-period capitulation on home ice, the Chiefs could not have got off to a worse start in Wiltshire, going behind with just 19 seconds on the board through a Sam Bullas strike.

The Chiefs proved a good match for their hosts thereafter in the first 20, out-shooting them 15-14 but frustratingly going in at the break 2-0 down after a power play strike from Chris Jones.

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FRUSTRATION: Sam Zajac's team slipped to a sixth straight defeat at Swindon Wildcats on Satuirday night. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.

The second period was again hotly-contested before the Chiefs’ hopes were further dented by Toms Rutkis’s 39th-minute effort.

The visitors got on the board at 43.14 through a power play strike from Richard Bentham, but it was short-lived thanks to Aaron Nell’s swift reply, Edgars Bebris adding a fifth at 50.23.

“They were just a lot more clinical than we were,” said Zajac. “We created some really good chances and their goalie stood on his head at times and will have been disappointed not to get the shutout.

“But, again, it was individual mistakes, little breakdowns in the D-zone that cost us.

“We looked pretty good going forward, but when you’re struggling to put that puck in the net, you need to be perfect defensively and we had a couple too many lapses that saw the puck end up in the back of our net which was a shame.”