Tigers put on late thriller against Bison
Telford Tigers delivered a reversal in fortunes to beat reigning English Premier League champions Basingstoke Bison in an ‘energetic’ performance on Sunday night.
Victory over the Hampshire outfit at Telford Ice Rink was in stark contrast to Saturday, when they lost out on penalties to Swindon.
Those results mean the Tigers are just a single point behind league leaders Milton Keynes Lightning in the early standings.
And coach Tom Watkins was delighted after watching his side twice come from behind against Basingstoke.
He said: “It was a great game to watch and our energy levels were very good tonight. We talked about using our forecheck to create offense and we did that.
“We turned over a lot of pucks and to be fair, I thought the game should have been out of sight earlier than it was. But all credit to Basingstoke and their goaltending made it hard for us to get pucks through.
“Our energy and commitment in the early part of every period was certainly the difference tonight. All four of our goals came in the last two minutes of each period.”
A packed home crowd – bolstered by a host of tickets given away to community groups – saw the Tigers fall behind to a Basingstoke goal after just seven minutes.
But Telford drew level with just seconds of the opening session remaining, thanks to Doug Clarkson.
The Bison again took control of a feisty encounter with a goal on 25 minutes, before proceedings threatened to boil over.
Tigers defenceman Sam Zajac received a penalty for fighting Basingstoke’s Alan Lack, ahead of a second Telford strike from Matty Davies at the end of the period.
The third period again saw both sides take a more physical approach, with Clarkson receiving a two-minute penalty for roughing.
But Clarkson was the hero with three minutes remaining, as he scored to give Telford the lead for the first time in the game.
And with Basingstoke looking for a late equaliser, captain Jason Silverthorn struck to give the Tigers a two-cushion.
Watkins added: “I thought Corey McEwen in particular was great tonight and he looked like a young Doug McEwen. He had a good game last night as well, and his speed means he is very hard to play against.
“But he needs to do that every night and he’s got to turn up and play. I’m really pleased for Corey this weekend and though he was solid.”
Telford Tigers are back in action next weekend, when they host Manchester Phoenix on Saturday (6pm), before a trip to face Peterborough Phantoms the next day.