Tigers look ahead after first home loss to Bison

Tom Watkins insisted his Tigers players must “bounce back quickly” after they tumbled to their first home defeat of the season against Basingstoke Bison on Sunday night.

Two second period goals from Basingstoke put Telford on the back foot and despite a late goal in the final session, they were unable to recover momentum to stage a comeback, eventually losing 4-1.

The Tigers are, however, still nine points clear at the top of the English Premier League, although second-placed Milton Keynes Lightning now have three games in hand.

Telford take a break from league action on Wednesday when they travel to face Peterborough Phantoms in the final four of the EPL Cup, before two further games – including the second leg of that semi-final – next weekend.

And with silverware firmly at stake in those two EPL Cup encounters, Watkins is looking for a quick recovery from his men.

He said: “The big games are coming quickly for us now, with the game in Peterborough on Wednesday, then the league against Sheffield on Saturday, before we go back to the EPL Cup on Sunday.

“We have got to make sure all the guys bounce back quickly. It is an important week coming up for us.”

A short-handed Tigers side, missing Jason Silverthorn and Jonathan Weaver, lost Corey McEwen to a game penalty in the first period on Sunday night.

And it was the visitors who opened the scoring at the halfway point of the middle session, thanks to Matt Towalski.

Basingstoke made it two-nil just a few seconds later, with an unassisted strike from Ciaran Long.

Telford struggled to create any meaningful chances and with time running out in the final period, they removed netminder Sam Gospel in favour of an extra attacker.

But that strategy failed to produce a goal for the hosts, as Basingstoke scored a third with three minutes remaining.

Matty Davies offered some hope for Tigers fans with a goal in the final two minutes, but the visitors hit back almost straight away with their second empty net goal of the night.

Watkins added: “I think the penalty to Corey hurt us, but I didn’t really see the hit. It just affected our rotation and meant we had to put different guys together to mix the lines.

“But there are no excuses. We didn’t manage the puck well enough at times and didn’t get enough traffic to the net against a netminder who will make it hard if he sees the puck.

“With the guys we had out there, we never really penetrated the front of the net enough, despite asking constantly.”

Telford are back in action on Wednesday night, when they travel to face Peterborough Phantoms in the first leg of the EPL Cup semi-final.

Next weekend, they host Sheffield Steeldogs in the league on Saturday, before the return semi-final game against Peterborough on Sunday.

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