Swindon Wildcats kicked off a perfect opening weekend of the NIHLS1 league season in style with an 8-0 victory on the road in Invicta on Sunday evening.
After completing a 4-0 victory on home ice on Saturday, the Cats made the trip down to Gillingham for the return fixture. Facing them in Gillingham a depleted Invicta Dynamos roster missing the likes of Ondrej Zosiak and the recently departed Bartlett brothers.
Starting between the pipes was Adam Long and Renny Marr. Swindon started the game brightly and nearly found themselves a goal up through Max Birbraer but Adam Long made the first of his 45 saves. However, the defences were breached at 07:05 when Sam Bullas was able to find a tip from a Sam Jones shot and divert the puck into the net.
Later in the opening period the Wildcats doubled their lead when Loris Taylor was fed the puck in the slot and was able to fire the puck under the legs of Long to make it 0-2 at 18:24. The assists on the goal going to Eddie Bebris and Max Birbraer.
As we moved into the second period the Cats continued to press and scored a third through an unlikely candidate. Neil Liddiard fired the puck in from the point and despite Long getting some of the puck, he couldn’t prevent it crossing the line to make it 0-3. The middle period was not shy of incidents with the Mos bench getting 4 minutes of penalties for Delaying the game and abuse of official, before towards the end of a period Harrison Lillis was awarded a match penalty for fighting after an incident with Chris Jones.
Sam Godfrey was also removed from the game for being the third man in, but with the resulting powerplay the Wildcats were able to convert with only 28 seconds remaining in the period. Sam Bullas scored his second goal of the evening with the assists going to Chris Jones and Max Birbraer.
The short bench of the Dynamos were beginning to feel the effects in the third period as the Wildcats scored a further 4 goals to seal the 8-0 win. Aaron Nell made it 5 at 43:24, before Eddie Bebris got his goal at 48:45.
At 56:25 the Wildcats scored their 6th goal in what might be the nicest goal of the evening. Some nice powerplay movement between Aaron Nell and Max Birbraer saw the latter feed the puck back to point for Sam Jones. The British D man wound up a huge slapshot which flew through traffic and past Adam Long who didn’t even get chance to see it.
Inside the last minute of the game and Luc Johnson sped down the left wing and fired a puck on net from a very tight angle and the puck found its way through a tight gap between Long and the near post to complete the scoring for the Wildcats.
A successful opening weekend with 4 points and back-to-back shutouts for Renny Marr have the Wildcats a great start to the 2018/19 NIHLS1 season.
MOM: #44 Neil Liddiard