AARON Nell was pleased to score a victory for the home fans as Swindon Wildcats eased past Leeds Chiefs 5-1 to record their first win on Link Centre ice in four attempts.

Saturday evening’s victory got off to a perfect start as Nell and Toms Rutkis combined to set up Sam Bullus for the opening goal with just 19 seconds on the clock.

Cats then made the most of two simultaneous Leeds penalties to double their lead, Chris Jones putting the puck away.

Rutkis grabbed a goal of his own to extend Swindon’s advantage further during the second period.

Though Chiefs pulled one back through Richie Bentham while Stevie Whitfield was off the ice for high sticks, the hosts added two more before the game was up.

First Nell got in on the act on 45:09, before Edgars Bebris wrapped up the scoring five minutes later.

The blowout victory was the first time a Wildcats contest had been decided by more than one goal since a 5-3 loss to Basingstoke Bison on February 15 seven games ago.

Ending their streak of home defeats was an important target for player-coach Nell, who was happy to grab a Link Centre victory with the future of the season unknown as more and more sports shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a very different week and we don’t know how long we’re going to be playing for, but I thought it was important for the group to get a win, we’ve lost three in a row at home,” he said.

“It’s been a long week for the players. I think the whole world doesn’t quite know what’s going on right now.

“I’m very happy that they got a win tonight for themselves and the fans most importantly.

“Who knows what’s going to be happening over the next umpteen weeks. If this is our last home game, we’re happy to win.”

Nell added: “The atmosphere was brilliant, our fans have been great all year.

“It’s been a very weird week and a very weird way to end the season, but we’re happy that we’ve got a win in front of the crowd.

“I don’t know how many games we’ve lost this year, but every game we’ve lost was by a goal at home.

“We’ve had some great hockey and some great crowds this year. We’ve obviously won more trophies over the two years previous, but I think the atmosphere over the last seven months has been the best it’s ever been and long may it continue.”

Wildcats now move on to the second game of the weekend away to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday evening.

“We’ve lost there three times and we want to get a win in that building,” Nell said of the trip.

“It’s a tough rink to go to and we’re going to go there and put on a good performance for ourselves and our away fans.”

Next weekend was scheduled to be the last of the regular season before the play-offs, which Cats were set to be a part of, although what the future holds is uncertain.

Nell said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s not in our hands, the fate of this week.

“The association, the government, the rink and the players wanted to play (today).

“It’s a different time for the whole world. We’re just taking it a day at a time and see what happens.”