Tigers NIHL went into this weekend’s tough double header of games in desperate need of points and were disappointed to only come away with two out of the four points.
Saturday nights encounter with Billingham Stars was a story of two halves. The Tigers were outstanding in the first thirty 30 minutes and real value for their 3-0 lead. However, the second half of the game saw the Stars show why they’re second in the table as they wiped out that lead and brought the score back to 3-3 by 40.27.
The Tigers went on to regain the upper hand through a James Smith goal at 47.28 and it was looking good for the Telford when they were awarded a powerplay at 55.21. However a shorthanded goal from the Stars knocked the wind out of their sales as the score returned to level pegging at 4-4.
The killer blow came with just 22 seconds left in the game when a face off in the Tigers end found its way off a stick straight to the Stars' danger man, Denis Bostrom, whose onetime shot beat Daniel Brittle in the Telford net.
On Sunday, the Tigers travelled to Flintshre to take on Deeside Dragons for the fourth and final time. With the previous night's disappointment still raw, Telford would need to pick their selves up to secure a win against a team they are battling at the foot of the table. And a battle is a good way to describe the game.
Just 28 seconds into the game, Tigers found themselves on the first of twelve successful penalty kills of the night. Whilst the penalty kill units stood firm at one end, it was the turn of the powerplay unit at the other end of the ice to do their job as Ben Simister put the Tigers ahead at 8.08. Less than a minute later, Karol Jets doubled Telford's lead less as he grabbed his first goal to take the Tigers 2-0 up. The Dragons pulled one back through import Fillip Supa to make the score 2-1 going into the break.
Just four minutes into the second period, the home side levelled the score with a strike from Peter Gazda, which pleased the large Dragons crowd. That crowd was then silenced at 31.41 by Jets as he bagged his second goal, putting his side back in the lead. Another powerplay opportunity for the Tigers gave Jets the chance to complete his hat trick and re-established the Tigers' two goal lead putting them 4-2 going into the second interval.
More powerplay opportunities for the Dragons came and went with the Tigers standing strong in front of Daniel Brittle in net. However, just as a powerplay came to an end, Deeside player coach, Scott McKenzie, got what he was looking for as he poked home the puck after a scramble in front of the Tigers net, giving his side hope of another come back at the 53.03 mark. These hopes were soon extinguished as just two minutes later, Telford forward, James Smith, was on hand to capitalise on some fine work from Luke Brittle in the corner. Late penalties for the Tigers added extra drama for the Dragons crowd with the home side being awarded a 5 on 3 opportunity, but Brittle was in fine form, making 47 saves on the night to maintain the lead and take home two valuable points.
The result puts the Tigers one point behind the Dragons in the table and, although the Tigers sit bottom in 8th place, the team are only three points behind next week’s opponents, Whitley Warriors, who sit 4th in the table.
Tigers head coach Daniel Mackriel commented, “Over the weekend I thought we played with high energy and desire. I think we are a little unlucky not to come away with any points on Saturday, but we switched off at crucial times and with Billingham's firepower, we got punished.
"On Sunday again, the effort levels were there to be seen, but this time we were smarter with our plays. We've dropped 6 points against the Dragons this season and they played a good game on Sunday. They made things difficult at times but personally, I think we deserved the win.
"There's still ten points to play for and if we want to stay in this division, then we need to match the work rate from this weekend, but just be a little smarter throughout the whole game. We start with Sunday's trip to Whitley Bay and we're aware that it's a tough place to go. They are a good team and we need to ensure we are at our best each shift in order to get a result."
Tigers NIHL travel to Whitley Bay to take on the Warriors on Sunday in another massive encounter in search of points. Check out tigersnihl.com for more information.
Updated 08:22 - 14 Feb 2017 by Jason Parry