PLAYER-COACH Aaron Nell’s hat-trick helped Swindon Wildcats recover from a first-period ‘disaster’ to claim a 6-3 victory over Hull Pirates and maintain their 100 per cent home record in the National League.

Having won their two most recent home fixtures 5-0, it was never destined to be three identical scorelines in a row for the Cats after an action-packed first 20 minutes saw six goals go in – three at each end.

Edgars Bebris slammed home in the embryonic moments of the game to put the Cats in front before Hull turned the game on its head with less than four minutes on the clock.

Nell finished off a well-worked move to square the game at two less than 30 seconds later, but Hull would go back in front once again before nine minutes had appeared on the clock.

Nell grabbed his, and the Cats’ second, a couple of minutes later to cap off a crazy first 20 minutes of hockey.

After both teams put a premium on defensive duties during the second, there was to be no further goals until a minute into the final period, when Max Birbraer pounced on a defensive mistake to allow Toms Rutkis to tap in and put the home side in front.

Sam Bullas whipped a puck into the roof of the net to extend the Cats’ lead before an empty net allowed Nell to clinch his hat-trick in the dying moments.

The Swindon chief felt his side improved as the game progressed and was in the end thankful a ‘disastrous’ opening period did not end up costing his team the points.

Nell said: “We were very good in the third period, we were decent in the second, but I thought the first was a bit of a disaster.

“I’m sure that first period was fun for the fans, but it wasn’t fun for me!

“We were a bit of a disaster for that first 10, and Renny had to make some big saves at the end of the first.

“He showed his character and mental strength to shut the door against some very good players.

“Both teams tightened up after that first 10 minutes or so, and that was a big win for us in the end – really big.”

Keen to play down his trio of goals, Nell heaped praise on his netminder as well as the all-around efforts of his team to shut up shop when under pressure from a free-scoring Pirates offence.

The player-coach said he wanted to take the momentum from Saturday night’s game into Sunday’s match against Bracknell Bees, where the Cats will hunt their first four-point weekend of the season.

Nell said: “They were offensively very, very good, and after that first 10 minutes, I thought defensively we were good.

“In the third period, we were very good – we just took the game away from them and it was a big win.

“It was a good pass by Sam Bullas on the first one and Toms Rutkis made a great play for the second and third goal.

“It was a good night from us offensively and hopefully we can take that into tomorrow against Bracknell.”