Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice to face Leeds Knights, desperate to end their recent run of bad form after losing five games in a row. Tigers’ list of absentees had reduced and the home side were able to add Ryan Leese and Connor Lee to the line up. Leeds, the current league champions, were second in the league behind leaders Milton Keynes.
Tigers made a bright start to the game and opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a well worked goal. Jesse Sutton led a breakaway and sent a perfect pass across goal to Jaden Peca who smashed the puck past Sam Gospel in the Leeds’ goal.
Tigers’ goal led a charmed life with Leeds hitting the post twice in quick succession. Late in the period a hit on Captain Scott McKenzie aggrieved Fin Howells with Howells and Bailey Perre dropping the gloves and both receiving five minute fighting penalties.
Leeds equalised early in the second period with top goalscorer Kieron Brown scoring from close range. Leeds were unlucky again when they hit the post twice more before the period ended.
With the game finally balanced heading into the third period the next goal would prove to be crucial and went to the visitors. Deakan Fielder was serving a boarding penalty and Leeds’ power play unit controlled the puck well. Finn Brandon took advantage of a kind bounce of the puck and shot into the top corner of the Tigers’ goal with Brad Day standing no chance.
With Leeds ahead, Tigers were chasing the game and a poor defensive turnover allowed Jordan Buesa and Brown to break away and Brown applied the finish to Buesa’s pass to put the game beyond Telford. Tigers pulled Brad Day from the goal for the final two minutes of the game but could not score and Buesa scored Leeds’ fourth in the final minute into the empty net.
Tigers lose a sixth straight game and head to Sheffield next desperate for a victory to end their run of defeats.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 Leeds Knights 4.
Scorers: Jaden Peca.
Man of the match: Jaden Peca.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “We gave ourselves a chance with a gritty, dogged performance. We stayed in the game with a little luck at times after a good physical start and were able to take the lead but were unable to execute on the power play when we had the opportunity. We didn’t create lots of offence but had a good spell toward the end of the second period.
Leeds are a very talented team offensively and they capitalised on a loose puck toward the end of our penalty kill but even with the one goal advantage we felt we had a good chance to get something from the game but unfortunately we mismanaged a puck through the neutral zone and that cost us the opportunity to tie it up.”