Swindon Wildcats 3 Leeds Knights 7 - Kieran Brown leads way as Knights hit seventh heaven again
LEEDS KNIGHTS maintained their unbeaten start to the NIHL Autumn Cup campaign with a second successive seven-goal haul – humbling hosts Swindon Wildcats in the process.
Kieran Brown was the leading light for the visitors, posting four assists in addition to his two goals on a night when the speed and creative talent of Dave Whistle’s team ultimately proved too much for the hosts.
It was a largely clinical performance from the visitors, who went ahead on the powerplay at 4.22. Sam Zajac worked the puck out to the right for Brown, who fired first time into Renny Marr, only for the puck to rebound to Lewis Houston.
Brown then got on the scoresheet himself when tipping in Zajac’s shot past an unsighted Marr at 17.07.
Just over five minutes into the second, Brown then won the puck on the boards before breaking free to fire past Marr at his near post.
A shell-shocked Wildcats then fell four goals behind when Brown helped set up Adam Barnes at 32.54.
Swindon then began to claw back some zone time, although they were finding Leeds netminder Sam Gospel in a miserly mood.
But having already produced a string of impressive saves - including a few seconds after the Knights had taken the lead when denying Edgars Bebris’s penalty shot attempt, Zajac having been called for hooking the Latvian - he was finally beaten when Swindon player-coach Aaron Nell found himself free with room out in front.
Cole Shudra quickly restored the visitors’ four-goal advantage, however, when he robbed Chris Jones before back-handing past Marr at 38.12.
The hosts refused to go away, though, and again gave themselves hope when Jones was quickest to react to a loose puck in front to make it 5-2.
That hope was heightened when they reduced the deficit to two goals with just under 13 minutes remaining, Emil Svec pressuring Ross Kennedy on the boards before sprinting clear to fire past Gospel.
But Leeds maintained their composure and continued to work openings for themselves, Houston feeding Brown who cut in from the left to find an unmarked Barnes to fire past Marr at 50.10.
Leeds then added insult to injury with a second power play marker of the night, Brandon Whistle finding Matty Davies at the back post from where he tipped the puck home.