McKenzie has Four-midable night as Tigers Down Hawks. Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 faced off against Blackburn Hawks in the NIHL North Cup at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday night. Tigers came into the game on the back of an excellent 5-1 win over Sheffield Steeldogs the previous evening to progress to the semi finals and maintain their lead at the top of the cup table.
Tigers were able to add Joe Hazeldine and Jed Moreland to the line up but continued to be without the services of Warren Tait, Denis Bell and Dan Mitchell. Ryan Lewis was again back up net minder.
Starting net minders were Tom Hovell for Tigers and Harrison Walker for Blackburn.
Tigers opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a mistake from Walker in the Blackburn goal. Joe Hazeldine’s shot was struck fiercely but it went in and out of Walker’s glove and dropped behind him into the net. Just 30 seconds later, Tigers added a second goal. Jack Watkins battled to win the puck in front of the goal and sent a wrist shot past Walker. The game was getting physical and the crowd roared with approval after a huge hit in centre ice by Corey Goodison flattened a Blackburn player. Tigers scored their 3rd goal in the 10th minute. Good passing between Doug Clarkson and Adam Taylor left Scott McKenzie unmarked to shoot in off Walker’s pads and into the roof of the net. Shortly after, Tigers were given a power play when Blackburn’s Oliver Lomax was called for roughing. Adam Taylor showed fantastic stick handling skills to beat two players and send a perfect pass to McKenzie to score with a wrist shot. Tigers were causing all sorts of problems for the Blackburn defence – Andy McKinney hitting the post shortly before Jason Silverthorn scored goal number five with a precise finish low into the bottom of the net after being set up by Hazeldine. As the game entered the final minute, Blackburn got a breakaway when Tigers lost the puck on the Blackburn blue line whilst on a power play. Blackburns’s Kieron Brown scored with a calm finish giving Hovell no chance. The period ended with Tigers dominating and 5-1 ahead.
Blackburn changed their net minder at the start of the second period with Niks Trapans replacing Walker. The first job Trapans had was to pick the puck out of the net after Doug Clarkson smashed a shot in from close range after being set up by McKenzie. Tigers then had a couple of sloppy minutes where they conceded two goals in quick succession: Danieluis Nomanovas and a second goal from Brown reduced the deficit to 6-3. Tigers responded quickly by adding a seventh goal with Clarkson scoring a carbon copy of the sixth goal. Blackburn then pulled a further goal back through Adam Barnes, leaving the score at the mid-way point of the game 7-4. Any thoughts of a Blackburn come back were put to bed swiftly when Silverthorn was sent clear by Ricky Plant, Silverthorn shooting between the legs of Trapans for Tigers’ eighth goal. In the 35th minute, Tigers scored the best goal of the night with some excellent one touch passing between Watkins and Clarkson leaving McKenzie free at the far post to hit a one timer into the net for his hat trick. Two minutes later, the game was effectively over as a contest when Watkins hammered a slap shot from the blue line which gave Trapans no chance. Tigers led 10-4 at the end of the second period.
The third period was only a minute old when McKenzie added his fourth of the game, tipping a Danny Rose shot into the net from close range. The goal gave McKenzie his eighth point of the game. Just 18 seconds later, Taylor was sent clear by Clarkson and shot past Trapans for the twelfth goal. In the 53rd minute, Tigers changed net minder with Lewis replacing Hovell. The final goal of the contest was scored in the 54th minute, McKinney drew 2 defenders to him and then sent a pass to Plant who skated in on goal and shot short side past Trapans for Tigers thirteenth goal. There was still time for Lewis to make a fine save on a Blackburn breakaway as the game drew to an end.
Tigers’ win, combined with Hull beating Sheffield earlier in the evening, means that Tigers will qualify as winners of the cup table, gaining home ice advantage in the semi final.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 13 Blackburn Hawks 4.
Scorers: Scott McKenzie (4), Doug Clarkson (2), Jack Watkins (2), Jason Silverthorn (2) Ricky Plant, Adam Taylor and Joe Hazeldine.
Man of the match: Jack Watkins.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd PPG SoG T PIM Outcome Telford Tigers 1 5 5 3 3 53 13 10 Win Blackburn Hawks 1 3 0 0 26 4 20 Loss
After the game coach Tom Watkins said, “It was another good display tonight. I thought the first period was excellent, it had a bit of everything and we scored some great goals. There were a couple of huge hits from Corey Goodison and Jack Watkins which really got the fans going as did Jordan Stokes for sticking up for a team mate. I think heading into the second period our mentality changed from the way we approached the first and we thought it was going to be a night where we scored lots of points. We gave up a number of odd man rushes that led to goals and we were punished. We have to remain disciplined and stick to our roles and systems. We made some strong face off plays that led to goals, these are things we have been working on and it’s good to see us executing them in games. I was pleased to get Ryan Lewis in goal for part of the third period and he made three to four fine saves.”
Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 return to play at Telford Ice Rink Sunday 1st December at 19:00 in the NIHL Moralee Conference against Billingham Stars. Hexagon Telford Tigers 2 are next in home action at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday 9th December at 18:00 in the NIHL Laidler Conference against Sheffield Senators.