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- MK Lightning 4-5 Swindon Wildcats (final score)
- Murdy makes penalty shot save in dying seconds
- Cats led 5-0 early on before MK comeback
- First time Swindon have beaten MK this season
- Reporting by NED PAYNE
Two points well-earned. Now onward to tomorrow and the return clash at the Link Centre. A potential belter once more, I'd say.
A six on three ending to the game! The Cats never cruise comfortably to a victory do they!? #swindonwildcats— @sillenr 19 January 2013
Good win @SwinWildcats wish I'd been there! Although dont think my nails couldve taken it. #SwindonWildcats— @BenPayn 19 January 2013
Well @SwindonWildcats that sounded like one hell of a game !!! Well done boys...a good welcomer for our new signings !!! #barmyarmy— @Freckles2408 19 January 2013
@swindonwildcats congratulations on a great victory, have a safe journey home— @hegwighawks 19 January 2013
@SwindonWildcats win!!!!!!!!!! 5-4 #getin— @J7gti 19 January 2013
Swindon man of the match is Nell. For MK it's Wall.
There's that famous saying about cats having nine lives. I'm pretty sure Cats used eight of theirs tonight.
The stats are like this. MK had 40 shots, Swindon had 27.
Oh my goodness me. Murdy saves a penalty shot from Emersic with 4.4 seconds left. Incredible. There is a school of thought that Emersic might have fouled on it. Either way it's not a goal.
Wall is pulled. Six on three. Desperate stuff.
No one can say we are not entertaining eh! but only we could be 5-0 up and still worried! Overtime No thanks plz hold on! #swindonwildcats— @Ashbyrobins 19 January 2013
Has anyone got any nails left?
It's now five on three in MK's favour...
MK have a powerplay. Will the pressure tell?
Four minutes left for Swindon to hold on.
This is nerve-wracking stuff.
Cats have killed their penalties, by the way. MK are now a man down.
There is just over six minutes left and Swindon have called a timeout.
Moore goes into the bin and MK have a five on three. Oh blimey.
Powerplay for MK.
I never thought I'd be saying this after 22 minutes, but Swindon could do with a goal.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 4, Wildcats 5, 47.47)
Oh my, oh my. Surely not? Tvrdek brings the Lightning to within a single goal on the powerplay. Assists Nick Chinn and Lukas Zatopek. There are 12 minutes left.
Two minutes for Sam Bullas now.
A nice, goalless start to period three, that is exactly what Swindon wanted.
Swindon have a powerplay.
Basingstoke have come from behind to beat Manchester 3-1 and go one point clear at the top of the EPL.
Still, if they hold on here they will reduce the gap on MK to three points, which would be a big bonus.
Slough have beaten Sheffield 7-0, a result that doesn't do Swindon a lot of good, but there it is.
With just over a third of this match gone, Wildcats were 5-0 up. Surely they won't throw this one away?
The third period is off and running.
Third period is going to have a backs to the wall look about it I fancy.
MK had 21 shots in that second period to Swindon's seven. Running totals now 31 shots by MK and 20 by the Wildcats.
Slough are giving Sheffield a battering. The Jets are 7-0 up in the third period.
And that's the end of the second period.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 3 Wildcats 5, 39.53)
Ouch. Poole fires a shot home for MK with seven seconds left of period two. Assists from Jamieson and Michael Farn. Just two goals in it now and the hosts sense there could be something in it for them.
I seriously need to start going to some @SwinWildcats road games. Can't keep missing these games. #swindonwildcats— @BenPayn 19 January 2013
Loris Taylor gets two minutes. Gulp.
Not conceding again before the end of period two would the the priority here for Swindon. A two-goal lead isn't all that strong but three you'd be pretty happy with.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 2, Wildcats 5, 36.16)
Well, it's not quite squeaky bum time yet, but the home side have a second. Emersic once more, with the assists coming from Kamil Tvrdek and Jamieson.
I'm pretty sure MK's players just did not expect this scoreline when they turned up to play tonight. Caught on the hop, completely.
Shane Moore gets two minutes and it's an MK powerplay.
It's been a good seven minutes since we had a goal. Come on guys.
I suppose from MK's point of view, sticking Wall on has worked. It's 1-1 since he entered the fray.
Fojtik binned. MK are on the powerplay.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 1, Wildcats 5, 22.20)
Well, the hosts are finally off the mark. It's not an impossible road back for them but it is an extremely long one. Blaz Emersic is the man on the scoresheet. Assists from Leigh Jamieson and Ross Bowers.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 0, Wildcats 5, 21.22)
Well, what do I know? Matias Perkkio takes the lead out to 5-0, with the assist from Sandvik. I reckon he's quite enjoying his debut.
And just as I say that...
I'm going to stick my neck out and say the scoreline will be a bit tighter in this period.
Here at the Thunderdome, the second period has started.
Elsewhere, Basingstoke have turned it round against the Phoenix and lead 2-1 after period two.
Swindon are usually pretty trigger-happy, they have outshot a lot of teams even on the road this campaign.
I would imagine on that evidence, the Lightning would be pretty aggrieved to be four down. Shows the value of taking your chances.
Swindon had 13 shots on goal in that first period. MK had 10.
Nobody has scored more hat-tricks than Nell this season. He's joint-top with Guildford's Curtis Huppe on three.
@swindonwildcats an excellent start to tonight's game lads— @hegwighawks 19 January 2013
That is the end of a breathless first period.
Knew I should have gone and watched @SwinWildcats tonight! Keep it up lads ....I'm with you in spirit #swindonwildcats :-)— @EllaWillett1 19 January 2013
The quickest hat-trick in the EPL so far this season was by Peterborough's Luke Ferrara, in 2.21. Confident Nell's is inside the top 10.
That's Nell's third hat-trick of the season by the way.
I can't help feeling sorry for Mettam. Hauled off before 12 minutes are up. What a horrible evening for him.
Anyone know what the quickest hat-trick in the EPL this season is?
Nell scores a hat trick after just 11mins against mk !!!! Wow!!! Swindon wildcats currently 4-0 Woohoo #swindonwildcats— @ThatCurlyBird 19 January 2013
What an unbelievable start for Cats. In their wildest dreams they couldn't have anticipated this. But to play Devil's advocate and invoke that tedious cliche, there's a long way to go yet.
MK have taken two drastic steps. First, they have called a time out. Second, Mettam has been replaced by Stephen Wall.
GOAL (Milton Keynes 0, Wildcats 4, 11.32)
This is unreal! MK have been completely asleep for the opening 12 minutes and Swindon have another. Nell has a hat-trick which must be one of the quickest in the EPL this season. The assist came from Stevie Whitfield.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 0, Wildcats 3, 10.56)
Mr Sandvik has scored his first point in a Wildcats shirt with an assist for Nell's second goal, but more importantly from a team point of view, Swindon lead 3-0. Dream start at the Thunderdome for the Link Centre side.
Swindon have lost 6-3, 3-0 and 5-2 to MK this campaign. Great start this time, though.
@nedpayne1 #swindonwildcats re, the ref - i remember him making some distinctly un-popluhar decisions in a game at the link this season.— @nattybinker 19 January 2013
Absolutely cracking start for the visitors, but can they maintain it?
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 0, Wildcats 2, 6.24)
Pick that one out! Swindon double their lead and this time Nell turns provider, with Jonas Hoog getting the final touch. I've lost count of the amount of times that has happened this season.
That was Nell's 34th goal of the season. He's very nearly a goal a game. Massive for Cats that they have a British player doing that for them.
Baird is a bit of a points-scoring machine at the moment, having netted against Bracknell last week. He hadn't scored since the season before last before that effort.
Well that is EXACTLY the start Swindon fans wanted.
GOAL! (Milton Keynes 0, Wildcats 1, 4.02)
Aaron Nell scores with the assist coming from Joe Baird.
One day I'll come up with a different sentence to start a game, I just happen to like that one.
And we're off.
Referee tonight is Petr Popluhar, which is probably one of my favourite names ever.
In addition to Calder, MK are without Jordan Hedley and Chris Wiggins but in comes youngster Connor Goode.
The Tom Murdy issue is an interesting one. Dean Skinns was phenomenal in some games earlier this season, but has fallen out of favour of late. Now Murdy is fully-recovered from injury, will the starting spot be his for the rest of the campaign? Only time will tell.
Tom Murdy has retained his spot in goal. Alex Mettam is between the pipes for MK.
We're just about ready here...
Manchester lead 1-0 at Basingstoke after period one. Interesting.
Here we go then...
@nedpayne1 #swindonwildcats supporting the boys from my living room, fingers crossed! Road win tonight!— @charrabi1 19 January 2013
Come on wildcats if we get a point out of tonight away be a good point! Hope the new import and new Brit do well! #swindonwildcats— @Ashbyrobins 19 January 2013
Just had a text from the Wildcats' press man, Mike Wray. He fancies Swindon to pull a 3-2 win out of the bag and Sandvik to have a blinder. That would be alright, wouldn't it?
Something about this weekend feels wrong. Away game on Saturday, home game on Sunday. Still... sure I'll get over it. Don't forget face-off is at 6pm at the Link Centre tomorrow. It's Kids Go Free and everything.
For Milton Keynes' part, Adam Calder is not icing.
Right, I'm not asking any more, I'm demanding. Send me your tweets using #swindonwildcats. I'm after predictions for tonight and your thoughts on the two new signings - good moves?
Within five minutes of his Basingstoke debut, Watt is in the penalty box. Hooking, not roughing. Not sure his hands are up to that any more after how he finished off at Wildcats - three fights in four games!
In a cringeworthy piece of self-promotion, may I point you towards my Twitter, @nedpayne1? There you can send me your thoughts on all things ice-hockey related, and that's throughout the week, not just tonight.
In addition to the usual absentees - Lee Richardson and Jamie Hayes - Jan Melichar is not icing tonight. Of course, coach Ryan Aldridge can only run with four imports and he has five available, Melichar being the casualty. Shows a decent amount of faith in Tomas Fojtik, who after an unconvincing start, has looked decent of late.
Swindon are out there warming up as we speak and the two new boys are being put through their paces.
This is the part where I solicit comments, in the comments section below, and tweets using #swindonwildcats. You know the drill - the best are reprinted in this live blog. What are your predictions for tonight?
Cats were planning to leave Swindon at 2pm this afternoon in order to make absolutely sure they arrived at the Thunderdome in time for face-off this evening. Long day.
Anyway, let's stick to the current roster for now, and a couple of new faces have come aboard this week. Henri Sandvik and Ollie Betteridge are both expected to feature this evening. Betteridge's deal was only completed last night so a quick turnaround for him, although he did skate with the Wildcats on Thursday.
Across the way, former Wildcats forward Nicky Watt sure has picked a belter of a game to make his debut in, as second (Basingstoke) plays third (Manchester).
Bored of the snow? Stuck in the house? Have no fear, Ice Hockey Live is here to guide you through Swindon's trip to Milton Keynes in the EPL. I will do my best to keep you entertained for the next three hours, and hopefully not all of it will be waffle.