Tigers defence sparks win over Flames

Tom Watkins hailed a brave performance from his Tigers defence after they overcame the loss of two key players to beat Guilford Flames 4-1 at Telford Ice Rink.

Martin Ondrej and Sam Zajac both left proceedings early with injuries on Sunday night, giving the reigning champions just four recognised senior defenceman.

But the combination of Jonathan Weaver, Dan Scott, Danny Rose and Marcus Maynard restricted Guildford to just 24 shots, as opposed to a remarkable 46 from Telford.

The Tigers head coach said: “I thought it was a good all-round performance tonight and the forwards got it done offensively, but our defence was outstanding.

“We lost Sammy and Martin early in the game, so we played for most of it with just four defencemen.

“They battled hard, blocked shots, moved the puck up well and behind them, Sam Gospel did what he’s been doing for a while now.

“We lost a game last week because we didn’t block shots, so today Jonathan Weaver blocked a bunch, as did the others and we need guys doing that all day long.

“It takes away good scoring and simple ways of getting the puck to the net. You consistently sap the other side’s belief when you’re making it hard for them to get pucks through.”

Guildford took the lead early on in Sunday’s encounter, with a goal from Marcus Kristofferson after just five minutes of the first period.

Telford, however, made their dominance pay later in the session, scoring twice through Jason Silverthorn and Max Birbraer.

The hosts double their advantage after the break, thanks to a well-worked goal from defenceman Dan Scott.

Those first two periods saw Telford deliver a total of 37 shots on Guildford’s goal, in contrast to just 13 from the Flames.

And it was Silverthorn who sealed victory on 51 minutes, giving The Tigers their sixth win in seven games.

Watkins added: “To be honest, I thought we should have killed the game by the end of the first period. We missed a lot of good chances, and through the second as well.

“I said to the guys that I thought the game should have been dead, but it wasn’t. I was pleased with the way we played in the third and we didn’t give anything up.

“We then got our reward with the late powerplay goal.”

Telford Tigers are back in action next weekend, when they travel to face Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday, before Sunday’s visit of Hull Pirates (6pm). For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

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