SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell scored a hat-trick to fire his side to a 6-4 win over Basingstoke Bison on Boxing Day.

After a pedestrian start to the match, the Wildcats burst into life with just under 10 minutes on the clock when Nell broke the deadlock.

The momentum of the game had swung between both sides, but Nell made no mistake when he found a pocket of space to get a shot away.

His initial effort was parried by the visiting netminder, but the second time around, Nell made the most of his opportunity to lash home.

The hosts continued in that fashion as they looked for a second goal. New signing Edgars Bebris had a good chance, but failed to make it count.

With the first 20 minutes coming to an end, Nell doubled the lead with a superb finish, sending the Link Centre side back to the locker room with a two-goal cushion.

The second instalment saw plenty of action as the visitors clawed their way back to 2-1 courtesy of Aaron Connolly’s 24th minute strike.

However, Joe Hazeldine was on hand to restore the two-goal advantage two minutes later as he rounded off a fine Swindon move.

Sam Bullas, who had made his 400th appearance for the Link Centre side at Peterborough on Saturday evening, notched to make it 4-1 as he managed to tuck the puck past the near post.

Bison then called a time-out before scoring twice through Ryan Sutton and Ivan Antonov to see the second period end 4-3 to the Wildcats.

In the final period, Bison were the first to strike as they restored parity through Dan Davies, at 4-4 as Swindon’s play began to slow.

With 12 minutes on the clock, the Cats needed a response. Luckily for Nell, that’s what they got when Floyd Taylor got Swindon’s fifth to push them ahead once again.

In a late bid to get back into the game, Bison opted to pull their netminder, but were punished by Nell who clinched a sixth goal to seal the win for the Cats.