MATCH REPORT: SAT 16TH FEB 19

The Wildcats had to earn their 11th successive league win the hard way though as two late first period markers from Bison’s Adam Jones and Adam Harding reversed the home side’s one-goal lead into a slight deficit by the end of the first period.

In true Wildcats fashion of late though, Aaron Nell’s side responded with three markers of their own – Sam Jones, Max Birbraer and Edgars Bebris (shorthanded) finding the back of Bison’s net.

Wildcats’ latest win means they are now four points clear of Basingstoke ahead of tomorrow’s crucial return fixture in Hampshire.

Player-coach Aaron Nell said despite Bison’s two late goals in the opening period, he was generally pleased with how his side performed in the opening 20.

He said: “I thought we played a good first period until the last two minutes.

“It was two minutes of madness really. They had six shots in the first period, and two of them were in the last two minutes.

“We played a really solid period and established a lead, but just switched off.

“We made two silly mistakes that we shouldn’t be doing. We were excellent in the second and scored three big goals.

“Everyone is committed to playing both sides of the puck, if we do that then the goals will always come.

“We gave away a few silly mistakes in the third, but I thought it was a well refereed game.”

Ashley Tait’s Bison would have left Wiltshire frustrated after they gave up a powerplay goal in the middle period, one that ultimately swayed the tie in Wildcats’ favour.

Nell was quick to praise his side’s smart decision-making amid their second period comeback, stating that the club’s feel-good factor from the terraces is being translated into positive results on the ice.

“When a team is playing well and feeling good, you can sense that the whole bench is ready to play smart,” said Nell.

“There were little plays that the fans might not see that were important to our win – quick changes and smart dumps.

“We’ve done that for three games now and it’s pleasing to see it work.

“We’ve been really good in the last month while playing shorthanded. We’ve kept pucks out of our net and scored too.

“It was a great shot by Edgars Bebris, when he shoots like that we will always stand a chance of winning.

“Basingstoke brought a great crowd, they always do.

“And our crowd was fantastic too. You can see that everyone is up for it now, we’re playing well and they’re enjoying it.

“It was a great advert for hockey.”

@SWINWILDCATS