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North 2 Laidler runners-up: Tigers 2 conquer brawny Bulldogs!

This Saturday concluded the 2018/19 season for Telford Tigers 2 as they took a trip up to North to take on Bradford Bulldogs, who last weekend confirmed their spot at the Laidler playoffs weekend for the first time in the Club’s history.

With Telford Tigers 2 already claiming the second spot in the league table, and the Bulldogs earning themselves a spot at the playoffs, a fairly quiet game was expected however, that wasn’t the case! The puck dropped for the first period and the hosts quickly took advantage of the Tigers’ short bench with a physical performance however, they landed themselves with two slashing penalties within the first 6 minutes of the game – Tigers were unable to capitalise on the power plays…

The Bulldogs quickly bounced back when they look the lead with the first goal of the game at 11:25. The Tigers pressed on to find the equaliser, but it didn’t come easy. A hooking penalty for Bulldogs’ Reece Cairney-Witter in the 16th minute gave Tigers 2 another power play opportunity which they managed to benefit from when #11 Brandon Anderton scored the first equaliser goal at 19:05. The first period ended 1 goal apiece…

The game resumed in the second period, and the pace began to pick up as both teams were looking to take the lead. It was end to end hockey until the Bulldogs managed to find their second evenhanded goal at 24:55 which put them a goal in-front once again. At the halfway mark of the game, the Bulldogs still had the one goal advantage, but this didn’t put the Tigers off. As the atmophere within the game started to step up, so did the physical play… at 37:39, a late-hit from #13 Conor Gordon left #88 Ryan Kemp unable to get up off the ice after a harsh impact with the rink board.

The game came to a halt as the bench staff and players from both teams attended to Ryan. Whilst there was still a few minutes left to play in the second period, the referee made the decision to take the period break early and add the remaining period time onto the third period.

The remainder of the second period resumed around 45 minutes which then flowed straight into the third and final period and it didn’t take long for more action to happen. A minor fracas in-front of the Tigers net between #11 Anderton and #57 Salt resulted in a 2+2 minute penalty for Anderton for roughing and a triple match penalty for Salt for fighting and obscene gestures; he was immediately ejected from the game. Despite the disruption, Tigers continued to play the game they travelled for and found their second equaliser at 45:42; scored by #72 Callum Bowley, this was shortly followed by Tigers taking the lead with their third goal at 46:50; scored by Tigers’ import #81 Filip Supa. Back on track and Telford Tigers 2 sealed the win with their 4th goal of the game at 51:12; scored by #72 Bowley and assisted by #75 Preece. The clock ran for another 30 seconds before the referee ended the game prematurely at 51:42. Despite being at least another 8 minutes of unplayed game time, the ice time had expired which unfortunately meant that the game had to be cut short.

Final score – Bradford Bulldogs 2, Telford Tigers 4

Another win for Telford Tigers 2 meant they completed their 2018/19 league campaign on a 12 game win streak, as league runners up and most importantly, a spot at the 2019 Laidler playoffs weekend!

Telford Tigers 2 player-coach Callum Bowley was pleased with the final score commenting;

“I am really proud of the guys after that performance. We went short benched due to our junior players having a game, some players carrying injuries and a couple were scratched as they had work commitments, so to compete the way we did, stick together and pick up another win is a credit to the team. We now have three weeks to prepare for the playoffs, so we’ll keep focused and pick up the intensity in training so that we turn up ready to go in Widnes. That aside, I wish a speedy recovery to Ryan Kemp as it’s never nice to see any player get injured playing hockey.”

Telford Tigers 2 will next be in action at the playoff weekend in Widnes on Saturday 20th April where they will play either Bradford Bulldogs or Hull Jets in one of the semi-final games of the weekend. Tigers 2’s playoff opponent will be decided following the results of Hull Jets’ remaining fixtures.