Tigers Derby Double Top. Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 played the second of back to back games against local rivals Solihull Barons on Sunday night at Telford Ice Rink. Tigers had won 8-2 the previous evening in Solihull – a game which saw Jason Silverthorn score four goals and Scot McKenzie score a hat trick to send Tigers to a convincing win. Tigers went into the game without Jonathan Weaver, Andy McKinney and Dan Mitchell but were able to ice Sam Gospel as starting net minder, Jed Moreland and new signing from the U18s Fin Howells.
With leaders Sheffield Steeldogs playing Hull Pirates, Tigers knew a win against Solihull and a Hull win would mean Tigers would end the year on top of the table.
Tigers started the game on the front foot and opened the scoring in the third minute when Silverthorn found Joe Aston unmarked in front of the goal. Aston buried a wrist shot into the top left hand corner to give Tigers the lead. Straight from the face off after the goal, Solihull won the puck and Luke Brittle passed to Niklas Ottosson who made no mistake with a wrist shot past Gospel to level the game just nine seconds after Tigers had scored. Tigers regained the lead in the 9th minute after Brodie Jesson won a board battle in the corner and skated from behind the goal setting up Jack Watkins for a slap shot from between the hash marks. The puck flew past Sam Hewitt in the Solihull goal before he could react. Tigers then increased the lead in the 13th minute, Jordan Stokes’ shot from the boards in front of the Solihull bench was tipped into the net by Doug Clarkson for Tigers’ third goal. As the period ended, McKenzie was called for tripping meaning Tigers would start the 2nd period a man down for two minutes.
Tigers managed to kill off the penalty and extended their lead in the 27th minute. Ricky Plant played a pass from the Tigers’ blue line and picked out Jed Moreland who skated onto the pass and shot low into the bottom corner of the net for Tigers’ fourth goal. Clarkson then was called for hooking giving Solihull a power play. Solihull took advantage of the extra man with a goal from a shot from the blue line by Adam Brittle that Gospel didn’t see due to being screened by Solihull’s Marcus Maynard. Solihull reduced the deficit further in the 38th minute when poor defending by Tigers allowed Adam Brittle to skate into the Tigers’ defensive zone unchecked and fire a wrist shot into the top corner for Solihull’s third goal leaving the Tigers with a precarious lead going into the final period.
Tigers started the 3rd period in the worst possible way as, just two minutes into the period, Adam Brittle completed his hat trick with a wrist shot past Gospel to level the scores. The goal seemed to wake Tigers up and they quickly restored their lead. Jesson played a neat pass across the front of the goal for Jordan Stokes to tap home the fifth goal. Clarkson then added his second of the game with a shot over Hewitt from close range. Watkins took the game beyond Solihull with a rebound from a Warren Tait shot for Tigers’ seventh goal.
Tigers scored the eight and best goal of the game in the 52nd minute. Adam Taylor did brilliantly to win the puck from a Solihull defender and passed to McKenzie who smashed a powerful wrist shot past Hewitt. There was still time for Solihull to score a consolation goal through Elliot Farrell.
As the game reached its conclusion, Tigers fans were made aware of the result from Hull with the Pirates winning a close game 3-2 over Sheffield Steeldogs, meaning Tigers would end the year on top of the league.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 8 Solihull Barons 5.
Scorers: Joe Aston, Jack Watkins (2), Doug Clarkson (2), Jed Moreland, Scott McKenzie and Jordan Stokes.
Man of the match: Jordan Stokes.
After the game coach Tom Watkins commented, “I’m happy with a four point weekend which takes us to the top of the league going into the New Year. It’s a slim advantage with a big weekend coming up. We missed a couple of guys due to illness this weekend but had guys step up and take on the extra responsibility. I thought Jordan Stokes and Danny Rose really picked up their games, along with Joe Aston playing on the top line with Ricky (Plant) and Silvs (Silverthorn).
We didn’t execute in certain areas tonight and allowed Solihull back into the game, but showed good composure at that point not to panic and quickly stole the momentum back. Solihull are a dangerous team so I’m pleased with the weekend as a whole.”
Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 return to play at Telford Ice Rink Sunday 6th January 2019 at 18:00 in the NIHL Moralee Conference against Hull Pirates. 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.