SWINDON Wildcats boss Ryan Aldridge was pleased his senior players enabled him to give his young stars plenty of ice time, as his side cruised to a 3-0 home win over Wightlink Raiders this evening.
After goals from Aaron Nell, Ollie Betteridge and Lee Richardson sealed a comfortable win by the middle of the second period, Aldridge was able to let the likes of Toms Rutkis, Ben Nethersell, Luc Johnson and Glenn Billings loose on the NIHL side, with the youngsters more than holding their own.
Nethersell went on to win the man of the match award, while Michael Stratford also impressed having played in the EPL at Telford on Wednesday night, leaving Aldridge pleased with their contribution.
“For me it was a case of that we were never going to lose, so although we could have scored a few more goals, it was important to get the young kids in there,” he told Link Sport
“We’ve got an away game tomorrow and it was important to save some of our guys’ energy, and let the young kids play. They did everything but score.
“There’s the three of them playing regularly on a line together which they are used to and they play well together, so I didn’t want to break that up.
“I didn’t want to throw too many of them in too early, like against Chelmsford, so we made sure the game was won before giving them their chance.”
Aldridge was also keen to highlight the performance of back-up netminder Michael Crisp, who made a string of saves and ensured the shut-out after replacing Stevie Lyle midway through the second period.
“Crispy deserves the ice time too, he travels all over the country with us to back up Stevie and is a great kid,” he said.
“I want to make a special point of highlighting him this evening as I thought he was awesome.”
Tonight’s win leaves Cats in a strong position in the southern section of the Challenge Cup table, much to Aldridge’s pleasure.
“The cup is a big goal of ours, it is every year, but this year seems more realistic,” he said.
“We’ve started this season how we’ve wanted to the last few years and it’s great for the club.”
Cats are next in action tomorrow night when they travel to Peterborough in the EPL.