Bees Sting Tigers in OT.
Telford Tigers travelled to Bracknell on Saturday night to take on the Bees in an NIHL National Division game. Tigers were missing some key personnel with Jonathan Weaver and Jason Silverthorn unavailable, along with Ollie Lord and James Smith.
Tigers started the game on top of the table and with a record of eight consecutive victories but it was the Bees who started the game stronger and took the lead in the 5th minute with a goal from Josh Martin. Tigers responded three minutes later with a goal from Brandon Whistle after good work from Corey Goodison gave Whistle a chance which he buried. However, the tie was short lived as Bracknell’s Zack Milton restored their lead within a minute. Tigers were slow to get going and their usual slick passing deserted them for much of the period. Bracknell led at the break and Tigers had work to do.
Seven minutes into the 2nd period Tigers were given a power play chance when Robin Kovar was called for holding. Tigers set up the power play well and worked the puck between Whistle and Ricky Plant to set up Scott McKenzie who applied the finish with a wrist shot past Bracknell net minder Adam Goss to level the game.
Both teams pushed hard in the final period and it appeared the Bees had won the game when Roman Malinik’s shot beat the unsighted Brad Day with 6 minutes left in the contest. Tigers responded almost immediately though with a goal from Goodison after Whistle and Fin Howells had created an opportunity for Goodison to hammer the puck home. Tigers had considerable pressure in the final minute with Whistle going close in the dying seconds of the game but Goss made a terrific save to send the game to overtime.
The pivotal moment of overtime came 2 minutes into the extra period when Tigers’ defender Ross Kennedy was called for interference giving Bracknell a 4-on-3 power play. The Bees took full advantage of the extra attacker with a well worked power play goal from Ed Knaggs to win the game. The defeat ends Tigers’ victory streak and the team gain a point but drop down to 2nd place in the league after a victory tonight for Swindon Wildcats takes them top.
Final Score: Bracknell Bees 4 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 (after overtime).
Scorers: Brandon Whistle, Scott McKenzie and Corey Goodison.
Man of the match: Brandon Whistle.
After the game Tigers’ Head Coach, Tom Watkins commented, “It’s tough to know what to think about tonight. It was not our best performance and naturally we wanted to win but we ground out a point on the road against a team who we expected to turn up and play hard tonight as they had a point to prove (after losing 9-2 to Basingstoke last week). We were chasing the game all night after missing several good chances to take the lead in the first period, which was frustrating but we kept coming back to take the game to overtime. We will learn from tonight, it’s a good learning curve for us as the quality of the league is too good to just turn up. It’s one game and I’m delighted with the attitude and character this group have shown thus far. An eight game winning streak shows what we can do and we are keen to get back to winning ways.”