SWINDON Wildcats put in a clinical performance as they beat high-flying Guildford Flames 5-2 at the Link Centre this evening.
The hosts were always in control after leading 4-1 at the end of the first period, thanks to a brace from Aaron Nell and strikes from Henri Sandvik and Jan Kostal, and never looked like losing the contest against a Flames side far from their best.
The first chance of the game went to the Wildcats but Kostal failed to make contact with the puck from Lee Richardson’s pass, but the hosts did soon have the lead when Nell flicked home after less than two minutes.
Wildcats’ early dominance began to fade as the Flames worked their way into the contest without ever really testing Stevie Lyle, but, almost out of nothing, Hoog did what he has done so many times in the past as he picked out Nell following a mazy dribble to allow the Brit to fire home his and his side’s second.
The hosts’ tails were up and they sensed the opportunity to kill their visitors off and when Henri Sandvik bundled his way through a host of Flames bodies as he screened his way across the visiting goal to slam home.
Cats’ third goal forced the visitors into a change of netminder, with Mark Lee taking over between the pipes, and although Dean Holland grabbed one back for his side following a rebound off Lyle, the hosts lead was soon three again as import Jan Kostal found the net (15.01).
Aku Pekkarinen was the first player sent to the bin with less than three minutes remaining in the first period, but before they were able to kill the initial penalty captain Shane Moore joined him in the box for slashing. Cats were able to see out the period to preserve their lead.
Cats killed the remaining seconds of Moore’s penalty without any trouble before Floyd Taylor and Nell both had efforts saved, and when Jez Lundin was in the bin Alex Symonds pounced to thump home a powerplay goal following assists from Kostal and Sandvik.
Lyle made a great stop to deny Ben Campbell as Cats kept hold of their lead before a raft of penalties. Which saw Nicky Watt, Symonds, Branislav Kvetan, Stevie Whitfield and Paul Dixon all spend time in the penalty box, although neither side were able to add to their tally despite each enjoying numerical advantages.
A quiet third period came and went with only a solitary Marcus Kristofferson strike for Guildford to cheer about, as the dominant Cats secured the points.