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Tigers Hold on for Home Win

Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice for their first game of 2024. After breaking their awful run of consecutive defeats in the last game of 2023 with a 3-0 victory over Solway Sharks, Telford were hoping to continue that good form against an opponent that they had beaten in all their previous meetings so far this season.

Tigers were without the suspended Jaden Peca whose receipt of only a one game suspension for slew footing suggested that the officials had accepted they got the wrong call in assessing him a major penalty against Sheffield. But the Canadian import forward had also reached ten penalty points for the season which triggered a further two game suspension.

The opening few minutes of the game saw Hull very much in the ascendancy with clear cut chances being missed by the visitors. This would prove costly for them as once Telford got into the game they took their chances. With Vladimir Luka in possession of the puck on his own blue line he sent a pass off the boards and perfectly into the path of the onrushing Fin Howells who broke in on the Hull goal unopposed. Howells shot through the legs of netminder Jordan McLaughlin to open the scoring. With Tigers in the lead they went close to doubling it straight away but a terrific save by McLaughlin from James Smith’s close range effort kept Hull’s deficit at one goal.

But McLaughlin could not prevent Tigers from scoring moments later when good work from Connor Lee and Louie Newell set up Smith to fire a shot into the top corner of the goal to double the home side’s lead.

Midway through the second period Tigers had a third goal. Luka was once again the provider with a pass to Howells to bury a wrist shot past McLaughlin. 

With the scoreline flattering Telford a little it was no surprise when Hull got back into the game with two goals towards the end of the period. Emil Svec scored with a precise shot from the left circle and with just thirty seconds of the period left, Finlay Ulrick scored from close range to narrow Tigers’ lead even further.

A very close third period saw both team have chances but it looked like Tigers had put the game to rest three minutes from the end of the period. Joe Aston sent Jack Watkins in on goal and Watkins showed great stick handling skills to beat McLaughlin and give Telford a fourth goal.

But Hull wouldn’t give up and less than a minute later they pulled a goal back. Ulrick set up Svec for his second of the game.

Hull pulled McLaughlin from the goal for the final minute of the game to add an extra attacker and Tigers had two chances to score into the empty net but Jesse Sutton and Lucas Price were both denied by blocks from Declan Balmer.

Hull ran out of time and Tigers got the two points to record back to back wins and a third success this season over their opponents. The teams face each other again next, as Telford travel to Hull.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 4 Hull Seahawks 3.

Scorers: Fin Howells (2), James Smith and Jack Watkins.

Man of the match: Fin Howells.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented,”That was a very close game! Despite us taking a three goal lead I thought Hull were the better team for two periods and certainly stole the momentum at the end of the second period.

I really liked how we played in the third period. We haven’t been great with a one goal lead at times this season so how we played the third was going to be key to who won the game. We moved the puck well, had some good offensive zone time and defended with purpose.  It was also good to see a couple of different faces on the score sheet to help us across the line.”

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