Hexagon Telford Tigers 2 have started the season in style having won four out of four competitive fixtures. After three pre-season fixtures, including against NIHL South 1 side, Bristol Pitbulls, Tigers 2 Head Coach Scott McKenzie was confident that his roster was ready for the season ahead, handing the reigns over to bench coach, Dougie Wildman for the upcoming games.
Despite the unfavourable result for Tigers 2 against Bristol Pitbulls, Wildman was pleased with the team’s performance commenting:
“As we expected, Pitbulls came with a very high level squad full of talent, but we knew this was a test we would relish. It was a very fast paced and physical game and an excellent game for us to see the progression we have made at practice and against a higher ranked team.
Game finished 5-2 but we were very pleased with how we performed throughout the game and we came out on top in the third period scoring our 2 goals. This game finished our pre season preparation and we are now excited to get going in the league and cup to show our potential this year.”
Tigers 2 started their competitive season with a Midlands Cup fixture against returning Laidler team Sutton Sting. In what was slow burner for both teams, Tigers still managed to take home the win after Filip Supa broke the 1-1 stalemate with less than two minutes to go on the clock, leading the Tigers to a 2-1 victory away in Sheffield.
The following weekend, local rivals Coventry Blaze NIHL returned to Telford Ice Rink having already played Tigers in two pre-season fixtures beforehand. Tigers 2 didn’t waste any time setting the pace in this fixture with two goals from Ben Washburn and debut senior goals for Lucas Price and Tom Byrne as well as a first senior point for Charlie Webb; all of which contributed to claiming a 5-1 success against Blaze.
With their first four points in the Midlands Cup under their belt, Tigers 2 moved onto their next challenge, a double header weekend of Laidler League fixtures. First up was Bradford away. The Bulldogs trailed early 0-3 in the first period with goals from Hunt, Spridgeon and Jets putting Tigers ahead. Tigers had netted all of their 5 goals before the half way point of the game, just ahead of the Bulldogs’ one and only goal of the game. Tigers took the two points in a 5-1 victory on the road.
The weekend of League Fixtures concluded with a clash on home ice against Altrincham Aces. Skating with fresh legs having not already played across the weekend, the Aces set the tempo for the game netting opening goal within the first five minutes of the game. Aces continued to carry the lead into the third period after picking up a second goal shortly after the halfway point of the game.
The puck dropped for the third period, and Tigers dug deep to begin the bounce back… An evenhanded goal from Anderton at 41:15 was shortly batted down by the Aces’ third goal of the game less than three minutes later.
Tigers had 15 minutes to get back into the game and that’s exactly what they did… An evenhanded goal from #81 Filip Supa at 49:05 followed by shorthanded handed goal from #10 Lucas Price at 58:19 gave both teams less than two minutes to secure a winning goal in regulation time.
Neither team could capitalise before the final buzzer and the game went into over time for a five minute 3 v 3 battle. A quick paced, end to end overtime almost ended in the Aces’ favour until a last minute goal was washed out as a result of a 2+2 minute high stick penalty against Jan Fiala in front of the Tigers net.
Above: Ben Washburn scoring one of his goals against Coventry Blaze NIHL netminder Hayden Laverick
Top: Preece, Keyes & Price celebrating the equalising third Tigers goal
Bottom: Filip Supa celebrating his successful penalty shot against Aces’ netminder Adam Summerfield
See all the game photos shot by Steve Brodie here.
The game went to penalties and the Aces’ hopes of taking home the win were slowly becoming out of reach as their first two penalty misses just couldn’t compete against the two Tigers goals buried by Karol Jets & Filip Supa. Aces were unable to net their third penalty shot which led to Tigers winning the shootout despite only taking two penalty shots out of five.
Tigers 2 coach Scott McKenzie is pleased with the team’s start to the season commenting:
“As coaching staff we are fairly happy with how we have started. We won all but one of our pre season fixtures, losing that one game to a team in a league above us by a relatively narrow margin too. So pre-season was a success.
We have been able to implement the discipline and attitude to how we want the team to play and that is showing in our results. The main thing is that we continue to learn and grow as a squad and take each game as it comes. So far so good.”
Tigers 2 Coach McKenzie has also confirmed his leadership team alongside bench coach Dougie Wildman for the season with the coaching duo selecting defence-man Mike Jones as the team captain.
“We selected Mike Jones as captain due to his wealth of experience.” Says McKenzie. “He is a natural choice to wear the ‘C’ and lead the team forward with a positive attitude. He has respect from all of his team mates and we have no doubt that he will be a great captain this season.”
Jones is delighted to be leading the Tigers 2 team this season commenting:
“There has been many fantastic captains in the history of the tigers and to be asked is a real privilege. I look forward to captaining the team with the support of my A’s and senior figures in the dressing room to see what we can accomplish this season!”
Alongside Jones, the leadership team will include Ben Washburn, who has already made his impression on the ice having already bagged two goals and an assist from one of the two Midlands Cup fixtures played.
“Ben was an easy decision to be an assistant captain.” Says McKenzie. “He has been a consistent presence within the Tigers 2 team for a long time; his work ethic and commitment is second to none.”
Washburn is delighted to have been selected as one of the team’s ‘A’s for the season commenting; “I’m honoured to be an assistant captain in this team. I look forward to giving my all and going to battle with a first class group of lads.”
McKenzie and Wildman complete their leadership team recruitment with Connor Keyes as the team’s second ‘A’.
“Keyes has been given the ‘A’ due to his commitment, attitude and respect within the changing room.” Says the coaching duo. “He has shown to us as a coaching team that he has great passion for the Tigers, as well as Ben and Mike, which is the ethos that we are trying to build within our group.”
Keyes is thrilled having also been awarded the assistant captain role this season commenting:
“I’m more than grateful to be awarded with the role of Assistant Captain this season, alongside Ben Washburn (A) and Mike Jones leading the squad with the C. Since joining the Tigers 2 squad in the 17/18 season Telford has felt like my second home and I haven’t looked back. The roster Scott has put together this season brings a great mix of youth and experience to the team. We have a great opportunity to compete at the top and bring home some silverware.”
Tigers 2 will return to the ice on Saturday 23rd October where they will host Sutton Sting in another round of the NIHL North 2 Midlands Cup. Tickets are available to purchase online now!