Tigers Winless Run Continues. Hexagon Telford Tigers retuned to home ice and were looking to break a sequence of three consecutive defeats. Tigers faced off against the current league champions for the first time this season and were without the services of Danny Rose, Jonathan Weaver, Ricky Plant, Sam Watkins and Lucas Price but added James Smith to the line up.
The opening period was fast paced and feisty from the first whistle and within thirty five seconds of the start, Jordan Griffin and Jaden Peca dropped the gloves and both ended up serving five minute fighting penalties.
Tigers deservedly opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the game. Fin Howells shot from the slot was saved by Sam Gospel in the Leeds’ goal but Vladimir Luka was first to the rebound and chipped the puck over the prone Gospel to give the home side the lead.
Brad Day was in fine form and made a terrific save from Kieron Brown and despite falling backwards, he managed to grab the puck out of the air to prevent a certain goal.
Late in the period Leeds equalised. A long range shot from the left circle by Bow Neely beat Day low down by his near post.
With both teams taking regular trips to the penalty box, it was no surprise when the next goal was on the power play. With Griffin serving a roughing penalty, Tigers regained the lead. Luka worked the puck to Jesse Sutton low down who skated in on goal and back handed the puck over Gospel’s pads and into the net.
Jordan Buesa hit the post for Leeds with the puck striking the inside of the post and somehow it bounced out and was cleared when it looked like a certain goal.
Late in the period, Jake Price was called for holding behind the play gifting an unnecessary power play to the visitors. With an agonising three seconds left of the power play, Leeds equalised. A shot from the slot by Lewis Baldwin was tipped past Day by Matt Haywood to leave the game finally balanced going into the third period.
Early in the third period the visitors took their first lead of the game. A shot by Buesa was saved by Day with his pads but Josh Adkins was left with an open net to shoot the rebound into.
Midway through the period Leeds increased their lead. A turnover by Rhodes Mitchell-King left Matt Baron with a free shot at goal and the Leeds’ forward shot past Day to give the home team a mountain to climb.
Tigers pressured the Leeds’ goal for the remainder of the game and pulled a goal back with one second of the game left. A shot by Mitchell-King was tipped past Gospel by Scott McKenzie but with no time left to get an equaliser, Tigers fell to a fourth straight defeat.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 Leeds Knights 4.
Scorers: Vladimir Luka, Jesse Sutton and Scott McKenzie.
Man of the match: Jaden Peca.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “It was a frustrating finish to the game and disappointing to lose after a really solid forty minutes where we were very disciplined and played with a lot of responsibility. We took the lead twice and shut down a very good offensive opposition.
I thought in the third period we didn’t play with the same responsibility or discipline, giving up way too many odd man rushes shift after shift. You can’t play these top teams when you don’t perform for the duration of the game. We didn’t stick to our systems on or off the puck and it cost us the points.”