Tigers Sink Pirates with Seven Goal Haul. Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 played the second of NIHL North Cup games this weekend on Sunday night at Telford Ice Rink against Hull Pirates. Tigers had won 4-2 the previous evening against Solway Sharks, a result that took them top of the cup table, going ahead of previous leaders Hull by a point. This was the first meeting between the two ex-EPL teams this season and Tigers knew a win would take them a huge step closer to qualification for the semi-finals of the competition.
Tigers were again without Denis Bell, Warren Tait and Andy McKinney. Jason Silverthorn and Joe Hazeldine had returned from injury the previous night and remained in the line up. Also available were the U18 players, Dan Mitchell and back up net minder Ryan Lewis, despite both playing in Sheffield earlier in the day for the U18 team against Sutton.
Tigers almost gifted Hull a goal in the first 20 seconds of the game after a defensive mix up behind their own goal allowed Hull a free shot, but Hovell reacted quickly to save it. The next five minutes saw frantic end to end attacking with both teams having possession but not creating any clear cuts chances. In the 11th minute Tigers had a three on one breakaway but wasted the opportunity when Doug Clarkson fired over the goal. In the 13th minute, Tigers’ captain Jason Silverthorn made no mistake when a perfect pass by Ricky Plant sent him clear in the Hull defensive zone. Silverthorn hammered a fierce shot past Ashley Smith in the Hull goal and into the roof of the net. Less than 30 seconds after the restart, Adam Taylor’s speed took him clear of the Hull defense and in on goal, Taylor deked the net minder and back handed the puck past the helpless Smith for the 2nd goal. Two minutes later, Tigers were given a power play when Hull’s Lee Bonner was called for interference. Thirty seconds into the power play, Jonathan Weaver combined with Taylor to find Clarkson unmarked between the circles. Clarkson hit an unstoppable slap shot past Smith for Tigers’ third goal to end a dominant period in firm control of the game.
Tigers continued to have the better of the game in the second period but Hull threatened a number of times, with Hovell having to make a sprawling pad save from Hull’s Matty Davies. Tigers added a fourth goal in the 27th minute, Clarkson’s shot rebounded off Smith and bounced perfectly for the onrushing Weaver to slam home. Tigers went close again shortly after when Plant was sent clear one on one but his shot missed the goal completely. Tigers’ 5th goal was scored in the 37th minute, Hazeldine’s blue line shot went straight into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, with Smith’s view obstructed by Scott McKenzie. Hull had a golden chance to score when they had a two man break away but somehow managed to completely miss the goal with a shot and then Hovell saved the follow up chance. Shortly after, Hull finally made it onto the score sheet when Tigers failed to clear the puck out of their defensive zone and were punished when the puck broke to Bonner who shot past Hovell. Tigers ended the period 5-1 ahead.
The third period started with Tigers’ Joe Aston and Hull’s Tom Stubley both getting 4 minute fighting penalties. Hull were pushing to try and get back in the game and Davies was denied by a terrific save from Hovell, one on one. Tigers scored a sixth goal in the 55th minute, Taylor and McKenzie combined to give Clarkson a tap in for his second goal of the night. As the game entered the final two minutes, Clarkson completed his hat trick whilst Tigers were on a power play, with a shot from the left circle after being set up by Jack Watkins.
Tigers’ win sends them three points clear at the top of the cup table after nine games.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 7 Hull Pirates 1.
Scorers: Jason Silverthorn, Adam Taylor, Doug Clarkson (3), Jonathan Weaver, Joe Hazeldine
Man of the match: Jonathan Weaver.
After the game coach Tom Watkins commented, “ A four point weekend against two very talented teams is a great result. We were very late home last night (after the Solway game) and to turn up and play with the commitment we did, was first class.
We scored some very well taken goals, the power play was very efficient and the penalty kill was solid. Our desire to compete was first class. You only have to look at how many shots we blocked tonight. We played the right way all weekend and were totally committed on the defensive side of the puck and the systems we implemented tonight.”
Hexagon Telford Tigers 1 return to play at Telford Ice Rink Sunday 25th November at 18:00 in the NIHL North Cup against Blackburn Hawks. Hexagon Telford Tigers 2 are next in home action at Telford Ice Rink on Saturday 24th November at 19:00 in the NIHL Laidler Conference against Altrincham Aces.