THE Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats got their 2021/22 NIHL campaign underway with a double victory over Leeds Knights last weekend.

Aaron Nell’s side came out on the right side of a feisty affair in front of their home fans on Saturday, winning 3-2, before holding on for a 4-3 success in Yorkshire on Sunday night.

Once the first puck of the new season dropped, it was the Wildcats who delighted the returning home faithful by getting off to the perfect start. Just 57 seconds were on the clock when Edgars Bebris tapped home from close range following a pass from Chris Jones.

Both netminders made several smart saves as the first period progressed with Swindon looking to press home their advantage.

Two Cats penalties late in the first period saw Leeds equalise at the start of the second courtesy of a five-on-three powerplay. Lewis Baldwin slammed home following a nicely-weighted pass from Matty Davies.

As the middle period wound down, the Knights would take the lead by again capitalising on another powerplay opportunity. Baldwin this time was the provider as his stretch pass picked out Adam Barnes, who skated down the right wing and bear Marr with a fine shot.

The Wildcats came back into the game in the third period though, scoring through Nell and youngster Jack Goodchild late on to win their opening game.

On Sunday, the Wildcats headed to Yorkshire in the return game and once again, Nell’s side made the perfect start.

Reed Sayers struck in the embryonic moments of the contest, but goals from Lewis Houston and Matty Davies gave Leeds a 2-1 first-period advantage.

Cain Russell and Chris Jones turned the game around for the Wildcats in the second period, with Aaron Nell extending the lead early in the third.

Jordan Fisher pulled one back for the Knights, but again it would be Swindon who held on for the 4-3 win, ensuring back-to-back successes from the opening challenge weekend.