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Overtime Blues For Tigers

Hexagon Telford Tigers were looking to get back to winning ways hosting Raiders IHC after a double defeat in the previous weekend. With games against two teams below them in the league it was an ideal chance to get confidence back. With this representing the final home game before Christmas it was important for the home fans to sign off with a win.

Tigers remained without their long term absentees and also lost Lucas Price due to his call up to the GB U20 team, along with Rhodes Mitchell-King and Jake Price who were both suspended and Jack Watkins who was unavailable. Tigers were also without Head Coach Tom Watkins who was also away with GB U20s so Assistant Coach Barry Holyhead took charge of coaching duties.

Tigers made a bright start to the game and open the scoring in the fourth minute with more than a little bit of luck. Jesse Sutton found Harry Ferguson open in space in front of goal. Ferguson’s shot was well saved by Matt Smital in the Raiders’ goal but bounced off him and hit a Raiders defender and deflected into the net. That was the only bright spot of a very poor period for the home side. Raiders drew level two minutes later when a shot by Jake Sylvester was saved by Brad Day but Adam Laishram shot the rebound into the net. Three minutes later the visitors took the lead through a Zack Milton shot from close range. Within thirty seconds, the lead was doubled. Sylvester scored after being left unmarked in the slot. Tigers could not get their passing going and presented Raiders with far too much possession in their defensive zone.

The second period opened with a remarkable thirty seconds for the home side. Sutton won a face off and the puck landed perfectly for Vladimir Luka to smash home to reduce the deficit. Immediately from the restart Tigers were level. Jaden Peca sent Ferguson in on goal and he sent Smital the wrong way and cooly finished with a low shot to draw the sides level. Raiders immediately called a time out to slow the game down and this tactic worked as Raiders restored their two goal lead. Sylvester scored his second of the game when the puck broke to him during a goalmouth scramble. Ten seconds after the restart a long range shot from Callum Wells went through Day’s legs to give Raiders a fifth goal.

With defending by both teams seeming optional, Tigers pulled a goal back with five minutes of the period left. Louie Newell was allowed the freedom of the rink to skate in on goal and send a low shot in off the post to give Telford hope of a comeback.

Five minutes into the third period, Telford were level. Sutton controlled the puck behind the Raiders’ goal and waited for the perfect moment to send it in front where Fin Howells was waiting to smash it past Smital.

Telford tightened up defensively and youngster Ryan Leese made a terrific block to stop a goal bound puck reaching Brad Day. 

Despite both teams taking regular trips to the penalty box there were no further goals in regulation time meaning the game would go to overtime.

Telford had a glorious chance to win the game early in the extra period when Sutton was tripped as he was about to shoot on goal and a penalty shot was awarded. However, Sutton’s shot went wide of the goal and the game continued. Tigers were made to pay when Raiders broke away and won the game with a goal from Riley MacRae.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 5 Raiders 6 (after overtime).

Scorers: Harry Ferguson (2), Vladimir Luka, Louie Newell and Fin Howells.

Man of the match: Ryan Leese.

After the game Assistant Coach Barry Holyhead, commented, “We didn’t start well at all.  We had a tricky first period and spent most of it defending our goal. 

We regrouped and came out playing a much better game through the second and third periods. After the start we had, to come back and get a point is a testament to the players work ethic and commitment.”

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