SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell says his side claimed an important victory over Basingstoke Bison at the Link Centre tonight.

Nell, who weighed in with a hat-trick to fire his side to a 6-4 victory, watched his side book their place in the next round of the NIHL Cup following the hard-fought triumph.

Following his two goals in the opening period, Nell then saw his troops pegged back to 2-1 action as the visitors clawed their way back with Aaron Connolly’s 24th-minute strike.

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

The three-goal advantage prompted Bison coach, Clive Thompson, into calling a time-out.

The brief break did the trick as they came back with two goals from Ryan Sutton and Ivan Antonov to see the second period end 4-3 to the Wildcats.

After restoring parity, Floyd Taylor stepped up to push the Cats ahead, before Nell sealed his hat-trick with the winning goal.

“It was a good performance and I knew that we had to win tonight,” he said.

“Basingstoke are a good team and they are a team we are going to have to play a lot.

“We are very happy, obviously after Saturday’s performance (defeat at Peterborough) it was good to bounce back and get a win which we needed.

“It’s good to score, and we weren’t good enough on Saturday, myself included.

“It’s important to score when you’re on top. You have to give them (Bison) credit because they came right back into the game.

“We got back to 4-4 and Floyd came up with a big goal, he has been doing that all year.

“He was great, so was Sam Bullas and Michael Power, we just need to keep it up.”

The win also saw new signing Edgars Bebris ice in front of a home crowd for the first time and the Wildcats chief says there is still more to see from the new addition.

“He was good, I thought everyone was good tonight,” he added.

“There is more to come from Edgars, he has just got to get used to everything.

“It’s a different level, it’s a different team and everything but he is going to be a big help for us in the second half of the season.”

The festive fixtures are coming thick and fast for the Wildcats, as they return to action tonight when they travel to Basingstoke, before hosting Peterborough Phantoms on Friday evening.