Game Report: Swindon Wildcats 3 Guildford Flames 2 (AOT) - 05/03/16

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Swindon Wildcats logo Returning from their double away weekend, Swindon Wildcats lined up against a visiting Guildford Flames at the Swindon Ice Arena.Total Sport's Ben Callaghan reports.

After a weekend in Yorkshire the Wildcats returned home to take on the recently crowned cup champions, Guildford Flames. An overtime winner from Corey McEwen was enough to ensure the Cats won 3-2 and made it two wins in a row.

Heading into the game the Cats were missing Aaron Nell after his horrific facial injury sustained in Sheffield last Sunday. The player-coach instead donning his suit and standing on the bench for the evening.

The opening few minutes showed what an end to end game we would be expecting to see. Guildford went close early on through Matic Kralj before Carlo Finucci threatened for the Cats. The first major talking point of the game was at 15.08 when Janis Ozolins was given a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind after a bad hit on Toms Rutkis along the boards.

The Swindon youngster would gain revenge when at 16.33 he put the home side in front for the first time on the night. A scramble in front of the net resulted in Richard Ullberg failing to control the puck and Rutkis allowed the time needed to scramble the puck over the line and into the back of the net. The Cats scoring with a 5 on 3 powerplay, and the assists being awarded to Finucci and Tomasz Malasinski.

The next major talking point happened just 12 seconds into the middle period. Matt Selby making a hit on Ben Campbell in the Swindon zone. Referee Tim Pickett decided the hit was bad enough to result in a match penalty (later downgraded to 5+game) and the Swindon defender played no further part in the game.

Guildford sensed a way back into the game and with the 5 minute powerplay they consistently tested Stevie Lyle, who was stopping everything going his way.

At 32.16 Guildford did manage to penetrate the Lyle goal. Matt Towe and Lee Esders linked up well to find captain Jez Lundin at the point. He fired up a big slapshot right into the bottom corner. A shot Lyle didn't have much chance in saving and one worthy of a highlight reel.

The real highlight for some fans would have been the fight at 39.22. Sam Bullas and Rupert Quiney had been exchanging words, and finally dropped the gloves and centre ice. Quiney got the better of the opening punches but Bullas fought back and landed 5 or 6 big punches to comprehensively win. Both players getting 2+2 for roughing, but Quiney left the ice and did not return, with what looked to be an injury.

At the start of the final period the Cats had a stroke of luck on the powerplay. Lundin deflected a Malasinski pass into his own net, ensuring the Cats had converted on their second 5 on 3 powerplay of the night, as well as giving the home side a 2-1 lead. If Guildford found themselves in penalty trouble in the first two periods, Swindon took 3 penalties in the final period and the last one being the one which allowed the Flames to take the game to overtime.

The Cats were two minutes away from victory when Jens Eriksson popped up on the blue-line and fired a lovely wristshot into the top corner past a screened Lyle.

Swindon at times this season have seen their heads drop but to their credit they stood strong and continued rallying around Lyle as we headed to the lottery overtime period. An unfamiliar hero won the game for Swindon in the shape of Corey McEwen at 61.09.

Finucci fed a pass to McEwew who had all the time in the world at the back post, he waited for Ullberg to make a move and lifted it up over the Flames netminder into the top corner of the net.

John Barras sponsored Man of the Match awards

Emily Tudgay sponsored Toms Rutkis - Swindon Wildcats

Jez Lundin - Guildford Flames

LISTEN: Game winner Corey McEwen gives his post match reaction HERE.

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