MATCH REPORT: SAT 9TH FEB 19

The Cats got off to a decent start, but a series of penalties made the first period very truncated and a lack of free-flowing hockey was not helping either side.

Swindon did manage to take the lead though as Chris Jones slammed home his first of the night to put the home side in front after one period.

Nell’s side took control in the second 20 when Jones inadvertently kicked home their second. Jonas Hoog’s shot towards goal was deflected in as Jones was in the right place at the right time to double the Cats’ lead.

The points were made safe with five minutes to play when Edgars Bebris dragged the puck out from between his feet and flicked in from close range.

After the game, Nell heaped praise on his star netminder Renny Marr and admitted that they worked so hard to keep a clean sheet for Renny as they felt they had let him down a couple of times recently with avoidable late goals.

Nell said: “We got better as the game went on – Renny was unbelievable tonight, it was his best game of the year and he kept us in it in that first period.

“That’s why we have him and we want to keep him for a long time and why he’s got a good future ahead of him.

“It was big goal on the powerplay to get the third – we felt more comfortable with a three-goal lead and the last five minutes was about playing hard for Renny.

“We played Basingstoke at home and gave a late goal away when we shouldn’t have, we played Peterborough a couple of weeks ago and we gave up a late goal when we were in control, so it was important to get a big shut out for Renny.”

The Wildcats have now won their last nine league fixtures and underwhelming performances like Saturday will be forgiven if they are able to chisel out wins while not playing at their best.

Nell felt he had his man of the match to thank for keeping his side in it while Chris Jones was another Wildcat to earn the coach’s adoration following his brace.

Nell said: “I don’t think we controlled the first period – Renny kept us in it there.

“We had a good start to the game, but then there were a lot of penalties. The five-minute penalty was big kill for us and the goal was huge.

“In the second period we were better and then in the third I thought we were excellent.

“Chris Jones scored two good goals tonight and he’s started to really come together over the past six weeks.

“He’s a big part of our team and he does a lot of things away from the scoresheet too and he’s very valuable.”

The Wildcats go to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday evening knowing a win would leave their league title hopes entirely in their own hands.

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