Swindon Wildcats completed another four-point weekend thanks to a Chris Jones’ inspiring performance against the Raiders on Sunday evening in London. The Cats left the capital with two points in the bag thanks to a narrow 3-2 victory.
The game got underway and it would be the hosts who took the lead thanks to a neat one-two move between the Raiders forwards. Brandon Ayliffe was able to capitalise on a great pass by Ashley Jackson and give the home side the early lead at 8:00. It would be the Swindon Wildcats who then found a way to get themselves into the game at 15:43.
A superb piece of individual skill by Sam Bullas was enough to bring the Cats level. He picked the puck up and moved around two D men before firing the puck into the top corner of the net past Ben Clements. As the opening period was coming to a close, the home side were able to restore their single goal lead after some really strong forechecking.
Juraj Huska found room to slide the puck back to point where Callum Wells was able to fire the puck through traffic and past Renny Marr, with the puck taking a slight deflection of a Wildcat stick on the way through.
The middle period would be a much cagier affair with both sides struggling to get the cut throat chances they needed to change the score line. As the period seemed to be coming to a close and the score line remaining at 2-1, the Wildcats kept going to the end and just found time to level the game up.
At 39:51 they converted on the powerplay. Max Birbraer and Aaron Nell linked up to find Chris Jones all alone at the side boards, whose shot went flying towards the net. The puck clattered off the underside of the crossbar and dropped down into the Raiders net.
The third period would again be a hard battle across the entire ice pad. The Raiders were doing well in limiting the Wildcats powerplay chances by successfully killing off the majority of their penalties. However, with the dreaded overtime period looming, the Wildcats found a way to seal the victory.
Neil Liddiard fed the puck down the right wing to Chris Jones who held off one defender and fired a shot towards the net. Much like his goal in the second, he found the smallest room for the puck to ping off the bar and into the back of the net to make it 2-3 at 58:40.
There was just enough time left for one final Raiders attack, and they had it through Juraj Huska who saw his shot saved in sensational fashion by Renny Marr. The Scottish netminder somehow throwing a glove behind his back to stop the puck dropping back over the line.
The final buzzer sounded and another successful 4 point weekend was upon the Wildcats who now move into Friday night’s away game with a semi-final matchup with the Peterborough Phantoms.