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Game Report: Swindon Wildcats 2 Guildford Flames 4 - 06/02/16

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Swindon Wildcats logo Wildcats took to the Swindon Ice Arena on Saturday to welcome Guildford Flames to SN5, in what represented a vital game before next weekend's triple header.Total Sport's Ben Callaghan reports.

Saturday evening saw the Cats in their only game of the weekend when they took on Flames. Swindon were without the injured duo of Matt Selby and Corey McEwen but were icing OHA youngster Adam Finlinson.

Guildford started well and instantly tested Stevie Lyle within the opening minutes. Their opening pressure on Lyle paid off at 5.08 when they scored their first of the evening. Danny Meyers fed the puck through to Janis Ozolins who sped in on goal and fired high on the glove side to give the visiting side the lead.

It wouldn't be long before they doubled their advantage. At 7:43 Andy McKinney was able to capitalise on a poor Wildcats line change and poke the puck home from close range. Lyle did his best to stop the shot but the puck slid under the pads. The assists on the goal being given to Ozolins and Lee Esders.

The Cats began to settle and after a few positive shifts and found there way back into the game towards the end of the second period. Some rare four on four hockey allowed Carlo Finucci the room he needed to speed along the right wing, cut inside and fire under the arm of Richard Ullberg in the Flames net. The assists being given to Jan Kostal and Stevie Whitfield.

Swindon got their first powerplay opportunity of the evening when Jez Lundin took an interference call at 14.02. Swindon wouldn't pass up on the chance with the extra man. The inform Jonas Höög splitting the defence in front of the net to pass to Tomasz Malasinski who tapped the puck into the empty net. The Swede providing yet another killer pass to give the Polish international who couldn't miss with his shot.

The game had a real feel of playoff hockey to it. It was played at an incredibly high tempo with chances at both ends of the ice and multiple players making hits along the boards. The middle period proved to be full of chances but neither side would be able to capitalise with both Ullberg and Lyle remaining strong between the pipes.

The final period would prove to be successful for the Flames. They seemed to have stepped it up a gear and the transition to attack was something pleasing to watch from a neutral perspective. At 50:00 they got what would be the game winning goal. Lundin fired a massive slapshot from the point which deflected off the stick of Andy Melachrino and up into the top corner of the net. An unfortunate way for Swindon to concede but a shot which Lyle couldn't have stopped.

The Cats pressed and came incredibly close when Malasinski fed Aaron Nell at the back door. The Wildcats player-coach was unable to get his shot away thanks to magnificent defending from Danny Meyers using his body to move the puck off the stick of Nell. With little choice, Lyle was pulled from the net in favour of the extra skater but Jens Eriksson managed to convert on the empty net and seal a crucial two points for Guildford, who leapfrog the Cats into 4th place.

A rare Sunday off for Swindon meant this would be a 0 point weekend for them, ahead of a massive weekend where they play 3 games in 3 nights without the services of influential forward Malasinski who is representing Poland in their Olympic Qualifying campaign.

John Barras sponsored Man of the Match awards

Cardwave sponsored Adam Harding - Swindon Wildcats

Jens Eriksson - Guildford Flames

Click here for more information and news from the Swindon Wildcats website

Click here to see the latest Swindon Wildcats roster for the 2015/16 season

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