Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice on Sunday night to take on Milton Keynes Lightning after a valuable victory on the road in Romford the previous evening.
Tigers were able to ice both of their Canadian imports with Jesse Sutton and Jaden Peca both available for the game. Tigers remained without Jonathan Weaver, Ricky Plant, Danny Rose and Sam Watkins.
The opening period of the game was fast paced and Tigers were caught out with the opening attack of the game when Jack Watkins was called for tripping. The penalty kill almost saw off the entire two minutes but conceded late in the power play when Rory Herrman’s shot was saved by Brad Day but James Griffin was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Tigers fell further behind in the tenth minute when a Milton Keynes 2-on-1 breakaway saw Harry Gulliver pass to Ross Green who shot low past Brad Day.
Tigers finally got going and pulled a goal back three minutes later with a power play goal of their own. With Green serving a tripping penalty, Rhodes Mitchell-King hit a powerful slap shot from the centre of the blue line that went through the legs of Lightning net minder Jordan Hedley to halve the deficit.
A late hit by Milton Keynes’ Tim Wallace caused Deakan Fielder to go after Wallace and they dropped the gloves, with Fielder emerging as as the winner.
Both teams had chances in the second period and the only surprise was that there weren’t more goals in the game. With Tigers struggling to clear their zone Milton Keynes has some pressure on the Tigers’ goal but Day was up to the test. The only goal of the period was scored with three minutes left. A brilliant break in on goal saw Sutton take the puck around the back of the goal and skate out in front and backhand the puck past Hedley into the bottom left hand corner of the net to draw the sides level.
Milton Keynes started the third period in the ascendancy and Telford were penned in their defensive zone for much of the opening few minutes and struggled to clear the puck. Eventually the pressure told when Gulliver shot from the bottom of the right circle and the puck went in off Day’s pads.
Tigers threw everything at the Lighting goal including pulling Day for the final two minutes to add an extra attacker but Hedley was in excellent form and made some superb saves to keep Tigers out and send the home team to a narrow defeat.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 2 Milton Keynes Lightning 3.
Scorers: Rhodes Mitchell-King and Jesse Sutton.
Man of the match: Jesse Sutton.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “It was a very close game, two good teams who both had good spells during the game. We got a slow start but responded very well after trailing by two goals but winning the second period and tying the game at 2-2 going into the third. I would say we were on our heels early in the third period but responded well as the period went on. I think it could have gone either way and with two minutes to go I thought we had three or four very good chances we created when we had the extra attacker.
Huge Credit goes to Deakan Fielder who stood up for one of his teammates, no hesitation dropping the gloves and taking on a very experienced guy. That goes a very long way with the rest of the team in the locker room, the coaching staff and of course the fans. We gave it a very good go and fell a little short tonight but I think we can take a lot away from it despite the defeat.”