Jack McCarthy writes a match report from this weekend's Wildcats fixture match (2 & 3 September).
The Ice Hockey season is back with a bang, as the Swindon Wildcats defeated their new hockey rivals Bristol Pitbulls 5-3 in two consecutive games this weekend - 2 & 3 September.
Friday night saw an action-packed game at the Link Centre with the Wildcats beating the Pitbulls 5-3 and then securing the double with another 5-3 away win at the Bristol ice arena.
With the 22/23 season just two weeks away it was great to see the Cats back playing some good hockey ahead of the new season.
Edgars Bebris has taken on a new challenge changing from a Forward to a Defence-man. The Cats fans also saw new Canadian import Colby Tower ice for the first time as he showed some good quality across the weekend.
Home game: Wildcats Vs Pitbulls Match Report - 2 September
The Wildcats started the game off very well with lots of energy and this paid off as Bebris opened the scoring with a slap shot from the blue line flying into the top corner.
However, Bristol fought back with a goal of their own on the powerplay, they caught Swindon out and Ed Bradley wrist shot the puck into the bottom corner.
Bristol carried on their momentum but Dean Skinns held strong in goal to deny them a second.
The Wildcats then got back in front with a lovely disguised pass from Sam Bullas to Reed Sayers who first timed it through the keeper.
But just before the first period came to an end Bristol defence-man Reece Kelly rushed down the ice and tapped in a rebound to level it up at the end of the first.
- End of the first period: Wildcats 2-2 Pitbulls -
The Wildcats started the second period off very well with Tyler Plews skating around the back of the net and feeding it to Aaron Nell who slammed the puck straight past the keeper.
Swindon then increased their lead with returnee Lloris Taylor getting found in the slot by Tomasz Malasinski and made no mistake rifling it past the goalie to make it 4-2.
Bristol did pull one back with Christian Mohr finding some space and flicking the puck past Skinns to get within one.
Dean Skinns then makes three unbelievable saves to deny Bristol an equaliser.
- End of second period: Wildcats 4-3 Pitbulls -
There were lots of penalties to start the third period as it got a bit feisty between the two teams.
The Cats then get their two-goal lead back on the powerplay with Chris Jones one timing it through the keeper.
- End of game: Wildcats 5-3 Pitbulls -
Man of the match: Chris Jones
Away game: Pitbulls Vs Wildcats Match Report - 3 September
Just like Friday night the Wildcats opened the scoring on the powerplay with Ben Nethersell finding space and firing it into the bottom corner.
The Wildcats found themselves in some penalty trouble but with some great penalty killing the Wildcats successfully killed the penalty and Captain Sam Bullas raced up the ice and fired it top corner to double the lead.
- End of the first period: Wildcats 2-0 Pitbulls -
The Pitbulls started the second period off very strong and got their reward with Reece Kelly releasing a rocket past Marr.
Bristol used this momentum to get an equalising goal with Christian Mohr flicking the puck into the top corner.
But this lead didn’t last long as Chris Jones forced the keeper the make a good save but Balint Pakozdi was there to tap in the rebound.
Bristol then bounced back again and tied it up, Jay warren finding space and pushing the puck through Marr’s legs.
However, the period was not done there as the Polish wizard Malasinski found a way through and wrist shot the puck into the top corner!
- End of the second period: Wildcats 4-3 Pitbulls -
Swindon then got their two-goal lead back with excellent work on the powerplay sealed by another one-time shot from Jones making its way past the keeper.
The Wildcats defended well to see out the rest of the period and give the perfect start to the 22/23 campaign.
- End of the game: Wildcats 5-3 Pitbulls -
Man of the match: Renny Marr.
Next week on Saturday, 10 September the Bespoke Guardian Swindon Wildcats host the Telford Tigers in another challenge match ahead of the new 22/23 season.
Members of the public can book tickets at https://swindonwildcats.com/tickets/