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Tigers Left Frustrated With Latest Defeat

Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Yorkshire to attempt to end a depressing run of defeats. With the current run of losses added to with a home defeat the previous day, Tigers had lost to Leeds Knights extending their unwanted record to six consecutive defeats. Prior to the game there was some good news for the Tigers’ fans as the club announced the signing of Archie Hazeldine on a two way contract with Elite League team Coventry Blaze. Hazeldine went straight into the squad to make his debut for the club.

The opening period was scrappy and both sides failed to get their game going but the home side took the lead on the power play after Nick Oliver was called for tripping. Jonathan Kirk scoring for Sheffield.

Tigers were on top form in the second period and scored four goals in quick succession. Vladimir Luka set up Louie Newell to score against his old club. Then, Connor Lee’s hard work in front of goal forced a rebound off Sheffield net minder Dimitri Zimozdra allowing Harry Ferguson to score with the rebound.  Tigers added a third goal when Lucas Price sent a pass across goal which Jesse Sutton deflected past Zimozdra. With the home side reeling, Luka scored a trademark rocket shot from the slot. The second period ended with Tigers three goals ahead and seemingly heading for a win.

The third period would prove to be frustrating and disappointing for the visitors for a number of reasons. Sheffield replaced Zimozdra with back up net minder Martin Crowe and within two minutes they had a lifeline when they were the recipients of a fortuitous bounce. A shot from Cameron Brownley hit a Tigers’ defender and landed perfectly for Ben Cutts to shoot past Brad Day.  A minute after that goal an incident with Crowe caused Tigers to have to face an extended 5-on-3 power play.  Crowe took exception to Joe Aston trying to poke the puck towards goal after he had saved it and he skated after Aston and a scuffle between players from both teams ensued. Crowe even skated away from the scuffle to send a Tigers player’s discarded helmet down the ice with his stick but somehow referees Belfit and Williams awarded extra penalties to the Tigers not Sheffield.  

With some resolute defending, the penalties were killed off but some poor defending after the power play had ended allowed Tate Shudra to skate in on goal and shoot past Day to reduce the deficit further. With Tigers defensively suspect again, James Spurr scored off a rebound to level the game.

With seven minutes of the contest left, a further controversial decision by the officials cost Telford the game. A seemingly tame tussle for possession of the puck on the boards in the Tigers’ defensive zone by Jaden Peca was called as a penalty. Even more confusion occurred when the officials ejected Peca from the game for slew footing and gave Tigers a five minute power play to kill off. Sheffield scored what proved to be the winner when Brownley’s shot was saved by Day but Jonathan Phillips scored from close range off the rebound.

Any chance for Telford to get back into the game went when further ill discipline left Tigers short handed for the remainder of the game. Rhodes Mitchell-King was called for slashing and abuse of an official. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Tigers would have one final chance to draw level but Luka’s shot with ten seconds left was saved by Crowe.

Tigers fall to a seventh straight defeat but will have more than a few complaints about some of the decisions that went against them.

Final Score: Sheffield Steeldogs 5 Hexagon Telford Tigers 4.

Scorers: Louie Newell, Harry Ferguson, Jesse Sutton and Vladimir Luka.

Man of the match: Louie Newell.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “What do you say about that game? What can you say?  Ultimately the score line is the most important aspect and we chalk up another loss from a winning position, it really doesn’t matter what happens or what we say after the buzzer. 

Did we deserve to lose? No, but you have to earn the right to win and players need to learn that. We were on the wrong end of multiple decisions that affected the result of the game and cost us the chance to win but we need to learn to deal with adversity better and with more resilience and composure.”

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