Brad Saves the Day in Tigers’ Shootout Win
Telford Tigers looked to return to winning ways when facing off against Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday night at Telford Ice Rink. Tigers had lost the previous evening 5-2 to Milton Keynes and had seen their lead at the top of the league cut to a single point.
Tigers were without Jonathan Weaver and James Smith, but were able to add Ryan Lewis as back up net minder.
Brad Day started in goal for Tigers, with Jordan Marr in goal for Peterborough.
The opening five minutes of the game saw end to end hockey with Tigers having the majority of possession. Dan Mitchell was sent clear by Joe Aston but he shot wide of the goal. Dominik Florian and Ross Kennedy both went close but Marr was equal to their shots. With Tigers dominating the scoring chances, it was a surprise that the Phantoms took the lead with their first real shot on goal. Tigers’ defence were caught out by Ales Padelek who found himself unmarked and able to pass to Thomas Norton to shoot between Day’s legs and into the net to put Peterborough ahead.
Tigers continued to play well but just couldn’t score. Late in the period Tigers were presented with a 5-on-3 power play after Peterborough’s James Ferrara and Corey McEwan were serving hooking penalties. Tigers worked the puck well during the two man advantage but once again the finishing was missing, both Fin Howells and Jason Silverthorn shot wide of an open net with Marr beaten.
The 2nd period was similar to the 1st with Tigers starting well but unable to score. Scott McKenzie and Florian both had good chances saved. Peterborough should have been out of sight after having three glorious chances in quick succession but Day, in the Tigers’ goal, pulled off three sensational saves. First Padelek was denied by Day’s pads when in on goal, closely followed by a save from Jarvis Hunt and then finally the best save of them all to deny Martins Susters. The saves proved crucial as Tigers finally got past Marr in the 31st minute. Tigers cycled the puck well in Peterborough’s defensive zone, Brandon Whistle passing to Jack Watkins, who sent the puck to the blue line, where Nick Oliver unleashed a stunning slap shot that was past Marr before he could move, drawing the sides level.
The officials, Brooks and Wells, then drew the Tigers’ fans ire when missing a blatant high sticking infraction on McKenzie and then not spotting a clear hand pass which almost led to a Phantoms goal.
Tigers finished the period with one final attack that saw Marr pull off a magnificent save from McKenzie at close range.
Tigers started the 3rd period with a goal they fully deserved. A minute into the period, Ross Kennedy’s shot from the blue line was expertly directed past Marr by Andy McKinney to give Tigers their first lead of the night.
Tigers had to battle hard to stay ahead, with Peterborough pushing hard for the equaliser. Peterborough had an extended period of time in the Tigers’ zone after an icing call. With the whole team working hard, they finally managed to clear their zone and get a line change.
Late in the period, Peterborough’s Will Weldon was given a unsporting conduct penalty and ejected from the game. On the subsequent power play, Kennedy hit the post with another powerful slap shot.
Tigers would rue their missed chances when first Danny Rose was penalised for holding, closely followed by McKinney being called for delay of game, giving Peterborough a 5-on-3 power play. Peterborough called a timeout and pulled Marr from the goal to give them a 6th attacker. The tactic worked as Norton was able to beat Day with a wrist shot to level the game with less than a minute left. The game went to five minutes of sudden death overtime.
Once again Tigers had Day to thank for keeping them in the game. The Tigers’ net minder pulled off another sensational save in the dying seconds to deny Susters from point blank range and send the game to a penalty shoot out.
Tigers went first in the shoot out, with Scott McKenzie’s wrist shot saved by Marr. Susters was then denied by Day’s pad save. Florian was next for Tigers and his shot was easily blocked. Petr Stepanek followed for Peterborough and Day blocked his shot. Brandon Whistle stepped up for Telford’s next shot and cooly beat Marr with a shot over his glove. Padalek had to score to extend the shootout but his shot went wide, giving the victory to Telford and a second shootout victory this season over Peterborough. The win sends Tigers three points clear at the top of the league, albeit having played a game more than second placed Swindon.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 Peterborough Phantoms 2 (after a penalty shootout).
Scorers: Nick Oliver and Andy McKinney.
Man of the match: Brad Day.
After the game Head Coach, Tom Watkins commented, “What an entertaining game of hockey for the fans, it was extremely tight from start to finish and had everything to keep you on the edge of your seat. Both teams created offensive chances, both goalies were solid and both teams played hard for 60 minutes. I’m delighted we won tonight. At one point we are on a power play, 2-1 up and the next thing we are 6 on 3 down and they tie it up. The overtime was played at great pace with no whistles which kept the tempo very high. They are big points after last night’s loss.”