Tigers set for EPL Cup drama after beating Steeldogs
“Big games need big characters” – that was the rallying cry from Tigers coach Tom Watkins, after his side geared up for the EPL Cup semi-final with an 8-2 demolition of Sheffield Steeldogs.
Saturday night’s win at Telford Ice Rink means the Tigers maintain their seven-point lead over Milton Keynes at the top of the English Premier League, albeit with the Lightning having two games in hand.
Telford take a break from league action on Sunday night when they host Peterborough in the second game of their final-four contest, after a 4-2 loss to the Phantoms in Wednesday’s first leg.
And Watkins believes his men have the ability to secure their passage to next month’s final.
He said: “That experience we have in the squad of big games is very important for us. But the guys have got to turn up tomorrow night and play like they can.
“Big games need big characters and big attitudes. I think the team with the most character and committment tomorrow will win and get to the final.
“We have got to make sure we win over the 60 minutes, to give ourselves of winning the tie in overtime. We’ve got a good record in overtime, but there is an element of luck to it.”
Saturday’s win over the Steeldogs saw Telford take a 3-0 lead within the first five minutes, thanks to early goals from Matty Davies, Milan Kolena and Doug Clarkson.
The Tigers extended that advantage in the second session, with further strikes from Davies, Kolena and Adam Taylor.
Sheffield registered their first goal of the evening at the start of the final period, before Clarkson hit back for the hosts.
Kolena sealed his hat-trick with Telford’s eighth goal of the night in the last five minutes, before the Steeldogs rounded off the scoring just a few moments later.
Watkins added: “We had a good start to go three-nil up after five minutes, but I think we played on the back foot a bit in the second period.
“We won the period, but I thought they were the better side in that period and Sam Gospel kept us in the game.
“Of course, the difference was our finishing, but at times we were a bit sloppy. Two points at home is important, though, and it is always nice to score eight.”
Sunday night’s EPL Cup semi-final second leg encounter with Peterborough Phantoms, at Telford Ice Rink, starts at 6pm. The game is not included on season tickets. To buy tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.