MATCH REPORT: SAT 17TH NOV 18

A goalless first two periods kept Wildcats’ latest home NIHL One tie tight, before a quartet of quick-fire strikes quickly put the game beyond Ashley Tait’s side’s reach as Swindon moved onto 23 points from 13 games.

Nell’s three strikes were backed up with a goal from in-form forward Toms Rutkis, who struck Cats’ third goal with seven minutes remaining on the clock.

Player-coach Nell was immediately full of praise for his side’s performance in a crucial concluding period.

Nell said: “I thought we were excellent in the second period.

“We didn’t start the game very well, but in the second period we were really good – we were all over them.

“In those situations, you have to play smart to keep pushing like we did.

“Our last 40 minutes were excellent, and we deserved to win.

“We just didn’t put our chances away in the second period, and that’s been the case for the past couple of weeks.

“Thankfully it all worked out in the third period.”

Wildcats’ strong disciplinary record stretched further too as Sam Bullas and Jan Kostal avoided getting dragged into a confrontation during the middle period – a section of the game which the hosts dominated.

Former Coventry Blaze legend – and now Bison coach – Ashley Tait targeted both Bullas and Kostal during a fiery middle-period shift.

But the Wildcats pair didn’t bite, which consequently drew two penalties from the visitors.

Nell added: “I thought it was a well refereed game, and in the last couple of games we have been well disciplined.

“Our powerplay wasn’t great last weekend, but we got a big powerplay goal against Basingstoke.

“I’m very happy with the players.

“We changed things at the start and again in the second period.

“Toms (Rutkis) playing with Floyd (Taylor) gives him a lot more time on the puck. He’s been playing well recently, and it’s clear for all to see how much he is improving.

“When he’s on the ice he’s a big help for us.”

The hat-trick meanwhile pleased Nell, who admitted after the game his form in front of net hasn’t been matching his expected standards in recent weeks.

“I’ve not been scoring as much as I should in the last couple of weeks,” said Nell.

“But it’s my job to do that.”

@SWINWILDCATS