Saturday evening saw the visit to Swindon of the Telford Tigers for the first time of the season. Telford went into the game missing influential duo of Rick Plant and Jonathan Weaver. The Cats, only missing Floyd Taylor, also knew it would be the last home game for Ben Davies, who would be off to pastures new in the ECHL next week.
The opening period would be a very even contest. Despite it finishing 0-0 both sides created some very good chances. The Wildcats perhaps creating the better opportunities, Aaron Nell in particular had two glorious opportunities which unfortunately for the hosts, Ondrej Raszka swallowed up in the Tigers net in superb fashion.
Telford themselves had chances to break the deadlock, Matty Davies and Michal Satek forcing their best shots. Stevie Lyle was better to them firstly with his pads and then under the arm to deny the Tigers import.
The Tigers were the first who managed to break the deadlock at 25:47, Sam Zajac fired a big slapshot from the point which Lyle saved. The rebound unfortunately landed on the stick of Jason Silverthorn who slid the puck between the legs of Lyle to open the scoring. Telford began to pile on pressure, Milan Kolena tested Lyle before Macauley Heywood and Corey McEwen both had good chances to convert.
The Cats began to settle and test Raszka between the Tigers pipes. Aaron Nell was again brilliantly denied by the Polish international before Tomasz Malasinski saw a shot go agonisingly wide of the far post. With the period coming to an end and the Wildcats on a five on three powerplay, thanks to Luke Brittle and Matty Davies both taking minor penalties, the Cats managed to convert instantly.
Jonas Höög and Aaron Nell linked up with the Cats player coach firing his shot into traffic only for Ben Davies to pick up the loose puck and prod the puck home to tie the game up at one. With less than seconds on the clock Telford nearly regained the lead but Michal Satek's pass was too powerful for Sam Zajac who missed the pass and the second period buzzer sounded.
The final period was a cagey affair, the Cats defended well and had chances themselves on the break. Chances fell early on through Ben Davies and Max Birbraer but neither were able to convert past Ondrej Raszka.
As the game was heading towards overtime the Cats found themselves on the penalty kill again when Mark Smith took a delay of the game penalty but the Cats remained strong and the game went into overtime. Sudden death hockey is a tense affair and the overtime period was the same. Ben Davies had the best chance right at the end of overtime but was again denied by Ondrej Raszka.
The game went to penalties, Jonas Höög stepped up first for the 'Cats and slid the puck through the legs of Raszka. Telford scored through Milan Kolena after firing past Lyle into the top corner. Aaron Nell stepped up with the game on his stick, skated in and fired the puck off the crossbar and down into the net. The Wildcats had secured the win and the home fans went home happy.
Man of the match:
Swindon Wildcats – Ben Davies
Telford Tigers – Sam Zajac