ICE HOCKEY: Stars silence Wildcats to remain unbeaten in cup

The Oxford Times: Sam Broughton scored Oxford City Stars’ fourth goal in their 4-3 win at Swindon Wildcats Sam Broughton scored Oxford City Stars’ fourth goal in their 4-3 win at Swindon Wildcats

Oxford City Stars made it two wins from as many games in the English National League South Division 2 Cup with a 4-3 victory over Swindon Wildcats.

The triumph at Swindon’s Link Centre keeps Oxford second in Group 2, with Bristol Pitbulls having the edge at the top on goal difference.

Stars started brightly and dominated possession in the first period to fire in 22 shots on the Swindon net.

Despite a plethora of chances for the visitors, it took a beautiful finish from Nick Oliver after a pass from Andy Cox to open the scoring.

Oxford once again found themselves in trouble with the officials as new signing James Pentecost, who made a solid debut, picked up a minor penalty for tripping early on.

Stars continued to hold the upper hand in the second period, with head coach Darren Elliott scoring from the top of the right-hand circle.

Up to the half-hour mark, the Wildcats had managed to avoid the referee’s attention, but two penalties late on gave Oxford two powerplay chances, and Cox struck on the second to make it 3-0.

But then Alan Green was penalished for interference in the final two minutes of the period, and Swindon’s import, Jan Melichar, struck for the Wildcats with just 48 seconds left.

Sam Broughton netted for Stars 73 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1.

But Swindon hit back, and in the space of 31 seconds, ex-Oxford forward Shannon Taylor shot home before Tom Rutkis scored.

Stars changed their tactics into a more defensive-minded style which contained the Wildcats.

With time running out, a series of bizarre calls were made by referee Emilo Fusco.

With Elliott steaming in to get the puck, which he did just before the goal-line, play was called off for icing.

And with 45 seconds to go, the puck was deflected high up the netting at the back of the net, closer to the roof than the ice, but play was allowed to continue, resulting in a chance for Swindon, but Oxford held on.

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