Lightning clashes to give taste of EPL year

Jason Silverthorn insists Telford Tigers will use this weekend’s games against Milton Keynes as a stepping stone towards the new English Premier League campaign.

The Tigers skipper is part of a squad that could emerge as dark horses for silverware this year, following a summer of careful recruitment by coach Tom Watkins.

That line-up, featuring four import forwards and Polish netminder Ondrej Raszka, returns to action against the Lighting in a pre-season double-header.

And Silverthorn expects to see the first shoots of progress after a grueling week of twice-daily training, overseen by Watkins.

He said: “There is still a lot to come from this squad and we have only been together for a week. It has been hard, training twice a day over the four days.

“But once the guys settle in and get their game legs back, then we’ll be crisper, smoother and much faster.

“It is early days at the moment, but it is very encouraging. We’ve been training at seriously good speeds and it has been intense all the way through.

“As a group, we want to hit the ground running and become a force to be reckoned with.”

The Tigers travel to face Milton Keynes on Saturday evening (6pm), before the return encounter at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday (6pm).

They will play a Lightning side that beat them over two legs in last season’s play-offs, although Silverthorn is unconcerned about previous results.

He added: “Last season was last season and this is a new group of guys. Tommy has brought in some really good players, so it’s a different team.

“We’re putting last season behind us and looking forward by building every day and getting better as part of that process.

“It is looking good at the moment and the guys are coming together really well. The new guys have fitted in really well.

“It’s been good to get to know them off the ice, and spend a lot of time together. That is one of the reasons for a good pre-season.”

Telford Tigers fans can buys tickets for Sunday’s game by logging onto the Tigers website at www.tigershockeyuk.com. Tickets will also be available on the door.

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