SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell called their 4-1 home win over Peterborough Phantoms their ‘best performance of the year’ as they leapfrogged their league-title rivals into first place.

After a scoreless first period – where the Cats struck the post twice – the home side cashed in on their dominance with three unanswered goals in the second.

Edgars Bebris tipped into the net to open the scoring and unleash a powerful roar from the Wildcats fans before Max Birbraer stormed through one on one four minutes later to double the lead.

Three minutes before the buzzer, Jonas Hoog collected a loose puck before circling back and finding captain Aaron Nell to calmly slot home and make it three.

Following a ten-man brawl in the third – in which the Phantoms’ Stepanek was ejected – the visitors did manage to grab a goal back through Nathan Pollard before fan-favourite Jonas Hoog iced the game with two minutes to play, netting the 200th goal of his Wildcats career.

Nell was visibly delighted with his side’s performance after the game and declared as much while singling out his defensive players for laying the foundations in a hugely important win for the Cats.

He said: “It was a big game for us. It was a lot bigger game for us than it was for Peterborough and I’m very proud of all of the team.

“We put in a complete performance and especially at home, that was our best performance of the year.

“Our defence were excellent tonight. It was the best they’ve moved the puck and managed it all season.

“That’s the team that we recruited in the summer and I’m very happy with them.

“They all put in a great performance. To perform like that – it was huge for us.”

A crowd of over 1100 watched the table-topping clash between Swindon and Peterborough and the Cats player-coach paid tribute to the loyal fans as they let out a huge roar following the first home goal.

Nell felt his side dominated for 45 minutes of the 60 and has called on his players to back up their stellar performance against the Raiders tomorrow night.

He said: “We had the better of the opening ten minutes and then they came back into it, but we had a big second period.

“We scored four nice goals tonight and if (the four goal-scorers) can play like that every week then we’re always going to have a chance.

“The atmosphere was great tonight. Especially at the end of the second period, you could see how much our fans were getting in to it and it was a really good night.

“It was a good game between two good teams and those are the nights that you want to be a part of as a player, as a coach and as a club.”