SWINDON Panthers topped the regular season league after a crushing victory over Gosport at the Link Centre.
Panther racked up 11 unanswered goals against a visiting side who came short-handed, with only 10 skaters and a plan to frustrate their hosts.
The plan worked in the first period as Panthers were held to just a two-goal lead, goals coming from Robin Davison at 13.10, assisted by Gareth Endicott.
The second came on a Gosport power-play, with Rob Croucher in the box, as Panthers’ Ian Richards combined with Kenny Redmond to score a much-needed second of the night.
The second period started with Panthers still on the front foot and Gosport putting everything behind the play to try and looking for the break.
This backfired when a Panthers were awarded with a penalty shot after Scott Gough broke free on goal and was fouled. The veteran Gough despatched the penalty shot into the top corner taking the score to 3-0.
At this point the game started to turn in Swindon’s favour as the Davison, Endicott, Croucher line started to click and a fourth goal came at 28.08 from Endicott, assisted by Davison and Croucher.
On the same shift a lovely individual goal at 29.11 was tucked away on the backhand from Davison. Paul Wojciak followed that up shortly after with the seventh goal of the game, assisted by Gary Loveday to close out the second period.
Third period was all about seeing the game out with a view to get the Panthers goalie a shut-out.
A further goal came from a Rob Croucher tap-in, after some controlled paly round the net at the 52.01. Then Endicott added a ninth, assisted again by Davison and four minutes later the same combination resulted in Endicott securng his hat-trick The final goal of the game came from a fierce slap shot by Richards with netminder Jamie Thompson having a hand in the assist, a rare and welcome addition to his shut-out.
Panthers now face the Gosport again side on Saturday for the first play-off game at the Link Centre before travelling to Gosport on Sunday as the Swindon side attempt to make finals day on the August 10 on home ice.