The Swindon Wildcats got their 2012/13 campaign off the mark last Saturday evening and although finally falling short in a shootout, would take a solid point against the visiting Manchester Phoenix. With last year’s EPL playoff finalists as opposition, it was clear the ‘Cats knew what to expect as the first puck dropped.
A physical start saw the ‘Cats gain some good momentum early and within minutes, Swindon had their first goal. A powerplay opporunity would see forward Aaron Nell beat netminder Stephen Fone with a pin point wrist shot and with it, give his side the first goal of the night.
However with the period coming to a close the Phoenix were to soon to half the home side’s lead. An impressive break from import Psurny saw his end to end effort finally finished with a rapid backhand shot, that would consequently beat netminder Dean Skinns.
The second period held much more of the same from both sides, as the chances continued to show in an unfolding game of hockey. Despite these chances, it would be Manchester who would find their reward and with it tie the game. This time with Joachin Flaten striking a one timed effort in front of net to find the only goal of the period.
The Norwegian import would then find form once again, only this time in the third period as the forward would jump on a loose puck and quickly release a shot through a screen of players.
After seeing their lead disappear for the first time in the game, Swindon soon began to pick up the pace with just under 10 minutes remaining. Adding to what was great game of hockey, Swindon would then find that all important equalising goal as previous scorer Hoog saw his wristshot find the net yet – again with perfection.
Such a score meant both sides headed into overtime in search of a second point, having earned their first after a 60 minute affair. Despite this, neither could find a way past the opposing netminder and as the clock ran down, the determining shootout dawned.
It would be Swindon’s Nell who would step up first and despite netting earlier in the game, netminder Fone would this time deny him from his shootout attempt.
Having signed for Swindon in the summer, import Matius Perkkio then emerged from the home bench to tie the scores. With little hesistation and with few tricks, the Finnish saw his superb backhand shot fly over the glove of Fone and in for that important goal.
However as forward Ciaran Long took to the ice at the other end and replying with somewhat of an unconvential attempt, it left Swindon’s Hoog with the deciding round. Some quick hands from the import did see Fone back into his net, however with the shot catching a pad and slowing to be batted from the air, Swindon saw their hopes denied for a shootout victory.
The Manchester Phoenix celebrated their first game of the season with a shooutout win, as Swindon took a solid point to start their campaign and use as momentum toward a game against the Sheffield Steeldogs tomorrow evening. Final Score: Swindon Wildcats 3 – 3 (1-2) Manchester Phoenix.
Thanks to: Scott Gummerson – Press Officer