Tigers “lucky” to collect late points in Sheffield

Telford Tigers coach Tom Watkins said his side were lucky to return from Yorkshire with two points, following Saturday night’s 5-4 win over Sheffield Steeldogs.

The county men had to wait until a late penalty shoot-out to seal victory at Ice Sheffield, after a determined Steeldogs outfit staged a dramatic comeback to force overtime.

That period of extra play was the fourth game in a row that Telford have been tied at full time, maintaining their 100 per cent record over 60 minutes.

But Watkins believes his side should have secured the win before the end of regular time.

He said: “I think we were very close to losing that game tonight. You would like to think we would outwork and outperform a team that is short benched.

“They were gritty, they battled real hard, they showed more desire to win and Sheffield were really very unlucky.

“We took a dumb penalty at the end, with guys jumping on too early for changes, and that is the player’s responsibility.

“That put us on the back foot, they got another late goal and I think we were desperately lucky to get anything out of this game, let alone two points.”

Telford started the game on top, however, and it was against the run of play that Sheffield took the lead on six minutes through Arnoldas Bosas.

Despite the Tigers again dominating proceedings after the break, the hosts doubled their advantage midway through the second session, again thanks to Bosas.

It took until the closing moments of the period for Telford to trouble the scorers, firstly through Doug Clarkson’s fine tip-in on 38 minutes.

Captain Jason Silverthorn was on target just moments later to haul his side level at the second interval, as the Tigers began to take control.

Watkins added: “We turned over a lot of pucks, we gave pucks away, we got out battled on walls. There was a ton of mistakes, especially in the first period, and we have to do better.

“It was disappointing that we played that first period, well most of the game, against a team that were short on bodies and we didn’t add any physical play.”

Sheffield regained the lead through Bosas at the start of the final period, only for Satek to hit back for Telford almost straight away.

The visitors took found themselves in front just seconds later, thanks to Milan Kolena – but once agan they conceded a late goal to enter overtime.

And despite losing Matty Davies to minor penalties twice in overtime, the Tigers survived to secure victory after penalty shots – with Davies scoring the final penalty.

“I really don’t think we should have taken the game to penalty shots tonight,” Watkins said.

“With the ability that we have, we have to show more quality and have more desire to get the job done.”

The Tigers – who remain top of the English Premier League – return to action tomorrow night (Sunday) when they host second-placed Milton Keynes Lightning at Telford Ice Rink.

For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

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