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Tigers Fightback to Win Goal Fest

Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Scotland for the final time in the league this season to take on the Sharks in Dumfries. The two teams had met in Telford the previous weekend with the Tigers taking an overtime victory courtesy of a Vladimir Luka penalty shot. That goal won the game but also confirmed the Shropshire side would be in the end of season playoffs in April. The hosts were currently in ninth place, one position outside the qualification place and two points behind Bees. Tigers sat in sixth place, two points behind Peterborough Phantoms.

Tigers started with Matty Bloor in goal and were missing Harry Ferguson through suspension and Jack Watkins was also unavailable.

The long journey up to Scotland seemed to affect the visitors as they found themselves three goals behind within the opening eight minutes of the game. Oliver Arseneau opened the scoring after two minutes and this was followed by a power play goal from Craig Peacock two minutes later. A shot from distance by Struan Tonnar caught out Bloor to leave Telford reeling. 

The visitors came out for the second period and looked a different team. Five minutes in, Scott McKenzie got Telford on the scoreboard when he tipped an Archie Hazeldine shot past Calum Hepburn in the Sharks’ goal. Shortly after, Vladimir Luka scored a power play goal with a shot from the top of the right circle to halve the deficit. But Solway scored a fourth goal less than a minute later when Arseneau scored his second of the game.

The hosts fourth goal triggered a fightback from Tigers which saw them score four goals in the last six minutes of the period. McKenzie scored his second of the night with a deflection from Hazeldine’s long range shot and then Jaden Peca levelled the score with a wrist shot from the slot.

With the home side struggling to cope with the rejuvenated Telford team, they were awarded two penalties to hand the visitors a 5-on-3 power play. McKenzie completed his hat trick with a well taken wrist shot from the slot. Then, with just one second of the period left, Jesse Sutton scored Tigers’ sixth goal.

The third period started in a similar vein with Sharks’ Sutton adding a seventh goal after good passing between Peca and Aidan Wilson left Sutton an open net to shoot into. Two minutes later Sutton scored another to add his third of the game whilst Tigers were short handed. With Louie Newell serving a tripping penalty, Sutton pounced on a loose puck and broke away to score with a well placed wrist shot.

A ninth goal arrived five minutes from the end of the game when Peca’s shot was saved but landed perfectly for Nick Oliver to shoot into the open net.

Telford rounded off the scoring in the final seconds of the game with a goal from Rhodes Mitchell-King.

Tigers scored a remarkable eight straight goals to turn the game around and claim the two points. Netminder Bloor recorded his first win at National League level.

Final Score: Solway Sharks 4 Hexagon Telford Tigers 10

Scorers: Scott McKenzie (3), Jesse Sutton (3), Vladimir Luka, Jaden Peca, Nick Oliver and Rhodes Mitchell-King.

Man of the match: Scott McKenzie.

After the game Head Coach, Tom Watkins, commented, “After a slow start we found our game and really dominated the second and third periods. Our special teams were very strong and gave us a big platform to win the game. We scored some very well executed goals but despite that, I think that Matty Bloor stole the show for us. He was red hot, made a string of fine saves, several reaction saves he probably had no right to make, read the game and tracked the puck all night. It was a high level performance for his first win at the National League level and he earned it. 

Tonight was great to see the team spirit and how pleased the team were to see Matty play so well and get a win.”

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