SWINDON Wildcats forward Max Birbraer says his team-mates are keen to push on from their current position at the summit of the NIHL South One table.

The Wildcats lead the league with 28 points from their opening 16 games, but lost 5-4 at Bracknell Bees with four seconds to go in overtime last Sunday, halting their four-game winning streak.

The painful defeat resulted in only their third league loss of the season, and Birbraer believes Wildcats are in a better position than last season to be able to bounce straight back this weekend - starting with a home match against Peterborough Phantoms.

He said: “We’re trying to be perfectionists. We want to win the league and to do that you’ve got to be a good all-round hockey team.

“We always want to play better than we are doing but getting the win is all that matters.

“We shouldn’t have to be grinding it out in certain games, but we did and we’re on the right track.

“We’re in first place, so there’s nothing really to complain about. Last season, we took our eye off the ball at the start and were chasing all season. This time we’re in a different position.

“We oiled the machine early and now it’s just a matter of keeping that up.

“We’ve set the standard in the past couple of years. We’ve set the bar high, but we want to keep on winning and keep that train rolling.”

The 37-year-old played his 1000th career league game earlier this month in a 4-1 win over Basingstoke Bison and the Kazakhstan-born player was delighted with his personal milestone.

He said: “I’m really chuffed. I never thought I’d play pro hockey when I was a junior at 18 or 19, so to not only make it pro, but to play at a high level and have a long career where I’m still playing, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“It’s getting tougher every year. I’m getting older. but it’s something to tell your kids about and something to put in the memory bank, so I’m really chuffed with myself.

“I wasn’t even sure which game it would be because my dad text me saying: ‘I think you’re approaching your 1000th game’.

“I had to do some research to clarify, but I’m really happy about it.”