THE Swindon Wildcats have made a huge acquisition to their team by regaining the services of Aaron Nell, who joins the Wiltshire side on a two-way contract from the Sheffield Steelers, writes George Royle.
Nell recorded no fewer than 115 points last season and his signing is a major coup for coach Ryan Aldridge.
The Wildcats were back to work after their festive break on New Year's Day when they welcomed the Bracknell Bees to town.
Swindon scored early in the game on the powerplay through Finnish forward Henry Sandvik, netting his 13th of the campaign. Bracknell responded controversially as Jan Bendik fired a shot that was deemed to go through a hole in the net.
Nell ensured that his team took a lead into the second period by firing a wrist shot powerfully past Tom Annetts in the Bees net.
Bracknell came out quicker after the interval, levelling the game at 2-2 through Sam Oakford. The Wildcats were determined to regain their lead, and Ollie Betteridge did just that by finishing a fine flowing move from Swindon’s third line.
However, yet again the Cats failed to build on their advantage, and Shaun Thompson levelled the scores for the visitors heading into the third and final frame.
Nell posted his second of the game before linking up with Jonas Hoog to give the Wildcats a late two-goal cushion. Nell then capped the win with an empty-net goal and recorded his second straight hat-trick at home.
It was a stiff task for the Cats on Sunday as they made the long trip to Altrincham to take on the league leaders Manchester Phoenix.
Jan Kostal and Jonas Hoog both scored to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after the first stanza.
Manchester burst to life in the second frame, scoring three unanswered goals to take a commanding 4-2 lead into the locker rooms.
Nell maintained his fine run of form and scored early in the third period to give his side hope. The Phoenix scored shortly after, however, to dash Swindon’s chances and completed a 6-3 victory.
Considering the players they have at their disposal, the Wildcats should not be sitting outside the play-off picture.
However, they are just two points away from the top eight with games in hand.
I expect the addition of Nell to have the desired impact for the team who can swiftly climb up the league standings.