Taylor Made Double Sinks Sharks. Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 travelled to Dumfries Ice Bowl on Saturday night for the first of two vital NIHL Moralee Division games this weekend. Tigers had overtaken Solway to go into second place in the league last weekend and would face leaders Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday in Telford. Steeldogs had beaten Hull Pirates 3-2 on Friday to extend their lead at the top to three points meaning a victory and two points for Tigers was required to close the gap.
Tigers were able to ice a full roster of players for the game, with the exception of net minder Denis Bell who was missing with a long term injury and Brodie Jesson who was serving the final game of his six game suspension.
Tigers started the game with Sam Gospel in goal and in the first 10 minutes of the game he was called into action a number of times, making a couple of big saves to keep out Solway who were looking to catch Tigers on the break. But it would be Tigers who scored the only goal of the opening period, whilst on the power play, after Solway’s Steven Moore was called for hooking in the 17th minute, Jack Watkins took advantage and fired home from Scott McKenzie’s pass to give Tigers the lead.
The second period continued in the same vein as the first with both teams playing a high tempo game. Tigers had a great chance to increase their lead in the 32nd minute when Solway’s Richard Bentham was called for slashing, giving Tigers a power play chance. Despite being a man down, Solway managed to break in on Tigers’ goal but Gospel pulled off a terrific save. Tigers immediately broke down the other end of the ice, Doug Clarkson threaded a pass to Adam Taylor whose shot hit Solway’s net minder Kyle Johnston and went into the net for Tigers’ second goal. Shortly after Solway managed to get on the scoresheet, when Lewis Houston beat Gospel to cut Tigers’ lead in half at the end of the period.
The third period followed the same pattern as the previous two with very little separating the teams throughout. In the 55th minute, Doug Clarkson and Ross Murray had a disagreement which resulted in them both dropping the gloves. Clarkson used his size and strength to comfortably win the contest. This seemed to inspire Tigers and shortly after Taylor added his second of the game from Jason Silverthorn’s pass to give Tigers a two goal lead with just three minutes of the game left to play. Solway responded by removing Johnston from the goal to add an extra attacker, leaving their net empty. But the Sharks could not make their advantage pay and Tigers saw out the game to secure a hard fought victory and two precious league points ahead of the clash with Sheffield on Sunday.
Final Score: Solway Sharks 1 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3.
Scorers: Jack Watkins, Adam Taylor (2).
Man of the match: Sam Gospel
After the game coach Tom Watkins said, “I’m happy to get the two points tonight. It was a very tough game which, if I’m being honest, could have gone either way. Solway could have been 3-0 up after the first period but Sam Gospel made some crucial saves and then we capitalised by scoring a good power play goal to end the period 1-0 up. Solway kept pushing and are very quick on the fore check, putting us under some heavy pressure, but again our power play unit was the difference. I was very pleased to get the insurance goal late on to take the pressure off.
Tonight is a good start to what will be a tough period of games for us in the next few weeks and we’re really looking forward to playing in front of a full house tomorrow.”
Watkins added, “I’d like to wish my good friend, Solway coach Martin Grubb, all the best as he gets married on the 23rd December.”
Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 return to play at Telford Ice Rink Saturday 23rd December at 18:00 in the NIHL Moralee Conference against Sheffield Steeldogs. Hexagon Telford Tigers 2 are next in home action at Telford Ice Rink on Saturday 5th January 2019 at 19:00 in the NIHL Laidler Conference against Sheffield Senators. For details of all future fixtures, check out the Tigers fixture list and www.telfordtigers.net/tickets for ticket information.