Tigers open gap at top of EPL with success in Swindon

Tigers chief Tom Watkins said “clinical finishing” was key for his men, as they extended their lead at the top of the EPL with an 8-2 drubbing of Swindon Wildcats.

Telford raced into a 4-1 lead by the end of the first period in Swindon on Saturday night, before controlling proceedings against a lacklustre Wildcats outfit.

And with second-placed Milton Keynes losing at home to Peterborough, the county men are now seven points clear, albeit with the Lightning having a game in hand.

Watkins, who collected his biggest coaching win in Swindon with that 8-2 scoreline, said: “It was clinical finishing that made the difference, especially with Jason coming in with a great goal to get us started after three minutes.

“It was also nice that we could answer straight back every time they scored. That kind of thing really takes the momentum back. We played so well all round and took two good points on the road tonight.

“It was great to see so many Tigers fans make the trip. Jo Briggs and Sam Middleton did a superb in organising it.”

That early strike by Silverthorn gave the visitors a flying start, although Swindon equalised through Tomasz Malasinski on five minutes.

Doug Clarkson regained the lead for Telford just 30 seconds later, before Milan Kolena added a third at the midway point of the session.

Kolena then made it 4-1 on 19 minutes, with an unstoppable slapshot that left Wildcats netminder Stevie Lyle stranded.

The second period was a quieter affair, however, although Telford a fifth after just two minutes, thanks to Warren Tait.

Swindon cut that lead through Robin Kovar at the start of the final session, but crucially, Telford hit back almost straight away with a goal from Jonathan Weaver.

The visitors resisted heavy pressure from the Wildcats following that strike, then responded with a shorthanded goal from Clarkson with five minutes remaining.

And Kolena completed his hat-trick just two minutes later with another fine strike, high into the net of replacement Wildcats netminder Michael Crisp.

Watkins added: “It was all about picking up the points on the road tonight, no matter how we did it.

“Swindon is always a tough place to play, but we got the job done and fortunately got a couple of good early goals.

“I thought we were solid in all departments and our penalty killing was excellent.

“It was important that we got the puck to the net and made the most of the secondary effort.

“Jon was solid in net and we didn’t give them a lot of quality chances, once we found our feet.”

The Tigers return to action tomorrow night (Sunday) when they host Bracknell Bees at Telford Ice Rink (6pm). For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.

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