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SWINDON WILDCATS: Veteran Richardson is hungrier than ever
SWINDON’S Lee Richardson might be set for his 11th season in senior ice hockey, but the club captain says there is no danger of him slacking off.
Gearing up for his sixth straight campaign at the Link Centre, the 29-year-old centre is one of Wildcats’ elder statesmen and admits the idea of winding down could not be further from his mind.
“I still remember the first day at Coventry when I was 19,” said Richardson, who began his career with the Blaze in the British National League.
“I thought the 25-year-olds were old, but I like being one of the older ones now.
“The young guys are a lot different to when we were young, they are not as quiet, but it doesn't bother me.
“I worked out with Stevie (Whitfield, defenceman) in the gym all summer and it's nice because he's so keen that it brings you on as well.
“I was probably lazier when I was younger, but now you realise, 'I want to keep doing it as long as I can', because it's great fun and a great life.”
Youth is certainly not something Swindon are lacking on the blue line, with Czech giant Jan Melichar and Joe Baird the only players over 25.
“To have Bairdy (Joe Baird) back is like a new signing almost, but they are all very young,” continued Richardson.
“Stevie is still 21 and people forget Paul Swindlehurst is only 19 years old, Moorsy (Shane Moore) is still only 25, too.
“So there's still a lot of young lads there and if they play like last year, especially the latter half, then we'll be fine.”
With Jaroslav Cesky and Michal Pinc gone from the Wildcats forward line and Michal Kapicka and Matias Perkkio brought in to supplement the work of returning import Jonas Hoog and British ace Aaron Nell, Richardson believes there should be no shortage of goals for the Wiltshire side in 2012/13.
“I liked Jaro and Pincy last year but after Christmas it didn't work for them, so there was a lot of pressure on Jonas and Aaron to score the goals every game,” said Richardson.
“There were so many games where if we had got one extra goal then we'd have got one extra point.
“The key this year is going to be those two (Kapicka and Perkkio) taking the load off Aaron and Jonas, having four guys that every night are going to be scoring.”
l Swindon survived a third-period comeback to defeat Slough 7-5 at the Hangar tonight in their third and final challenge match of 2012/13. Slough’s Darius Pliskaukas opened the scoring (2:35), only for Jonas Hoog to level with a neat finish on the powerplay (5:06). Jan Melichar netted from close range (11:38) and it got better for the visitors in the second period with Nicky Watt teeing up Hoog for his second (24:08). Finnish import Matias Perkkio made it 4-1 when his shot trickled over the line (30:29) before Dan Davies pulled a goal back on the powerplay (34:01). Perkkio sent Wildcats 5-2 up with a well-taken effort (38:28) and Swindon looked home and dry when Aaron Nell set up Lee Richardson for number six.
Pliskauskas hit the pipes before scoring seconds later (44:55) and then a well-worked move was finished off by Davies (48:55). Terrific stick skill allowed Pliskauskas to complete his hat-trick (49:39), but Hoog collected his own treble at 52:14 as he made it 7-5 to Swindon.