Tigers look to ’60 minute hockey’ for testing weekend

Telford Tigers will be told to eliminate “streaky hockey” in this weekend’s games against Sheffield Steeldogs and Milton Keynes Lightning.

The Tigers have given away goals in the final 30 seconds of their last three matches, but are still riding high at the top of the English Premier League.

They travel to Yorkshire on Saturday evening, before Sunday’s top of the table clash with second-placed Milton Keynes at Telford Ice Rink (6pm).

And following the dramatic finish to last week’s 4-3 defeat in Milton Keynes, Head Coach Tom Watkins wants his side to show their mettle at the end of games.

He said: “We need to make sure we are playing 60 minutes of hockey and that is something, as a team, we haven’t been great at this year.

“We’ve been playing a lot of what I would call streaky hockey, where we’ll have a couple of good periods here and there.

“We had three good periods in Milton Keynes, but other than that it has been a strong finish and a slow start, or the other way round.

“It has to be a 60 minute performance every shift, every night. It’s up to us to demand that of the boys every day and hopefully we’ll start to reap the rewards.”

Saturday’s trip to Ice Sheffield will see the Tigers face a team that almost sprung a surprise with a shorthanded squad in Telford last month, before eventually losing 5-4.

Watkins added: “There is no easy game in this league and the Steeldogs have got some quality guys. They’ve had a strong start to the season, despite being a few players short.

“Over the last few weeks they’ve had some good results, and it is always a very tough game in Sheffield.”

Sunday’s encounter, meanwhile, is an early chance for the Tigers to gain revenge for that last gasp defeat in Milton Keynes last week.

Club bosses are expecting their biggest crowd of the season at Telford Ice Rink – and Watkins will expect his men to feed off that atmosphere.

He said: “I am looking forward to it and it should be a great atmosphere at the rink when we play Milton Keynes on Sunday night.

“It’s great to see this place full and I really appreciate the efforts of our fans over the last few weeks. It does make a big difference.

“Having more bums on seats creates a better atmosphere and makes it louder, which hopefully gives us an advantage.

“The games are really close this season, which makes it exciting for fans and creates a good playing environment.

“Anything can happen, which in many ways is the beauty of sport and especially ice hockey.”

Sunday’s game at Telford Ice Rink faces off at 6pm. For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

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