Tigers Finally Get Home Win. Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice after a disappointing defeat to Swindon which saw them lose ground in the race for the playoffs places. With Telford dropping to eighth place in recent weeks – the final playoff spot – the team were in danger of dropping even further down the league and with Bees one of the teams chasing them it was vital that the Shropshire side picked up a home win – something that they had not done since early November, having lost ten in a row at home.
Jonathan Weaver and Ricky Plant remained unavailable for Telford who added Charlie Webb to the line up.
Tigers made the perfect start to the game with two goals in the opening three minutes. Brodie Jesson’s shot was saved by Matt Smital in the Bees’ goal but the rebound was shot back towards goal by Jesson and bounced off Smital – who was still prone on the ice from the initial save – and trickled into the net. With the crowd barely taking their seat again from the restart, the lead was doubled. Jesson and Jake Price combined to find Sam Watkins wide open in the slot. Watkins waited out Smital, sending him the wrong way and then tapped into the open goal.
Bees had a chance when Rory Herrman was called for hooking but Tigers penalty kill was in fine form with Sam Watkins and Rhodes Mitchell-King making key blocks.
Bees were trying to draw penalties from Tigers with Josh Marin in particular trying to goad Rory Herrman into a fight but Herrman sensibly ignored him.
Tigers made a slow start to the second period and were called for two penalties in quick succession. Tom Carlon was given a hooking penalty and Jack Watkins a tripping penalty giving Bees an extended 5-on-3 power play. Bees took full advantage of the extra two men when Stuart Mogg sent a pass to the far post where Will Stead hit the puck in off his skate. The officials conferred but awarded the goal.
Conceding the goal spurred Telford into life and they dominated the rest of the period. Herrman continued his recent terrific goal scoring form by scoring Tigers’ third goal, deflecting Carlon’s long range shot past Smital. Tigers then had their own 5-on-3 power play when JJ Pitchley was called for interference and then Brendan Walkom was called for boarding. A well worked power play move saw Sam Watkins send the puck into the slot for Vladimir Luka to hammer a slap shot past Smital for Tigers’ fourth goal.
At the start of the third period Tigers scored two goals in quick succession to take the game away from Bees. Danny Rose hit a well placed shot from the right circle over Smital’s shoulder and then Lucas Price scored with an almost identical shot to Rose’s, two minutes later.
Walkom netted for Bees with a low shot past Day but Tigers hit straight back with a seventh goal. Fin Howells hit a shot off a face off win with the puck looping high in the air and with Smital completely unaware of where the shot had gone, the puck dropped over his head and into the goal behind him!
A late Dan Bradley goal for Bees gave the final say on the scoresheet but Tigers saw out the rest of the game and win a valuable two points in their chase for the playoffs.
The win sees Tigers clinch a first home win in eleven games.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 7 Bees 3.
Scorers: Brodie Jesson, Sam Watkins, Rory Herrman, Vladimir Luka, Danny Rose, Lucas Price and Fin Howells.
Man of the match: Brad Day.
|Telford Tigers 1||2||2||3||1||8||38||7||16||Win|
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “We had a good, fast start to the game with two early goals which we were able to build upon as the game went on. I felt we dipped a little at the start of the second period and needed to play with more energy as Bees pushed back but we established ourselves as the period went on. We effectively put the game out of reach but were a little undisciplined at times. I thought our special teams were fairly solid. It’s good to get that win at home, it’s been too long!”
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