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McKenzie Late Show Wins it for Tigers

Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice looking to break a run of five consecutive defeats after losing in a tight contest with Swindon Wildcats the previous evening. With Tigers in sixth place in the league, every point will be vital as the season nears its conclusion and Tigers’ run of defeats has allowed the teams below them to close the gap. With Bees holding the final playoff place in eighth place – just four points behind Telford – the home side need every point they can get to make the end of season playoffs.

Tigers were still short benched but welcomed back James Smith from injury and Aidan Wilson from suspension.

A goalless first period was full of effort by both teams and was played at a fierce pace and both teams finishing their checks. Referees Williams and Matthews were calling every infraction which  didn’t help the flow of the game at all.

The second period was played in a similar vein and Tigers can consider themselves very unlucky to fall behind with five minutes of the period left to play. A breakdown of play in the Tigers’ defensive zone allowed Milton Keynes to score when the puck fell kindly for Rory Herrman to tap t into a wide open net. The goal was harsh on the home side who had competed well with their title chasing visitors all game.

Both teams had power play chances but Jordan Hedley in the Lightning goal was in top form and kept the Tigers at bay. Equally Brad Day at the other end was proving hard to beat.

Jaden Peca made two terrific blocks on the penalty kill and Tigers kept the Lightning lead to just one goal.

Early in the third period, the visitors were given another power play when Jake Price was called for holding. This time Milton Keynes made the advantage pay when Dillon Lawrence hit a wrist shot from the slot that went in off the cross bar.

The second goal was harsh on Telford and left them a mountain to climb. 

With nine minutes of the game left, Telford had a power play chance of their own after Ross Venus was called for holding the stick. Peca was at the heart of the power play and sent a pass to the unmarked Scott McKenzie in the slot. McKenzie hit a perfect wrist shot past Hedley to halve the deficit. 

Hedley then made a superb save at point blank range to prevent McKenzie from equalising.

With the game clock entering the final ninety seconds, Tigers poured forward and as they were pulling Day from goal to add an extra attacker Peca found Louie Newell in the slot and Newell beat Hedley with a terrific wrist shot.  

The game restarted and Tigers hadn’t settled for a point and continued to attack the Lightning who were reeling. With fourteen seconds on the clock, Telford launched one final attack and Archie Hazeldine sent the puck towards goal where McKenzie expertly deflected it past Hedley to give the home side a third goal.

Telford saw the rest of the game out and took a much need two points and earned a well deserved victory.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 Milton Keynes Lightning 2.

Scorers: Scott McKenzie (2) and Louie Newell.

Man of the match: Scott McKenzie.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “What a great game of hockey, so exciting. The game had everything, played at a real good pace, plenty of physicality, loads of skill and drama you can’t script. We played hard, full on commitment, disciplined in our structure with power play chances both way being nullified by solid penalty killing. 

We did a great job of managing emotions and finding a way back from a two goal deficit, with three unanswered toward the end of the game with some huge plays and big goals. A big big two points for us resulting from a great team performance and great support from the fans which made the atmosphere electric.”

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