SWINDON Wildcats captain Sam Bullas is predicting a thrilling finish to the National League once it gets underway on Saturday September 21.

Bullas’ team open their account at home to London Raiders – one of the four other NIHL One South teams that will join Swindon in the newly formed second tier of British ice hockey.

And with a selection of top teams from both regional tiers merging together – with the addition of two new teams – Bullas believes the strength of the league will force everyone to up their game while creating a plethora of shock results throughout.

The Wildcats skipper reiterated how important staying consistent will be to his team if they are to heed the words of their GM Steve Nell and compete for the title.

Bullas said: “It will be a case of trying to stay consistent this year.

“The league is going to be a lot different to last year and every game is going to be a challenge, every team is going to be a battle and the league is going to be upside down at times.

“The bottom teams will beat the top teams, the top teams will turn it around, and there are going to be a lot more points spread across the board.

“It will be a much tighter league and that’s what makes staying consistent so important.

“I think it could be a case of teams in first to sixth place battling it out for the league with a few games to go.”

Despite winning the league title last season for the first time in their history, the Wildcats lost six times at home in 28 fixtures – nearly 25 per cent of all games at the Link Centre.

New captain Bullas – who does not believe the C on his shirt will affect the way he plays at all – wants to see a return to the Cats’ home form of 2017-18 when visiting teams felt suffocated on the Link Centre ice pad.

Bullas said: “Two years ago, we had a system that worked here and we tried to implement it last year, but it was a little bit harder.

“We made games very, very difficult for teams a couple of years back, we smothered them all over the ice and it was overwhelming for teams.

“It’s something we want to make happen again and bring into this year.

“We want to make that intensity so high in our building because it’s such a nice, small rink for us that no one can do anything.”