Tigers Shut Out Dogs
Telford Tigers travelled to Sheffield to take on the Steeldogs. Tigers had won their previous game against Raiders, a result that saw them take a two point lead at the top of the table.
Telford were still without Sam Watkins, Jack Watkins, Thomas McKinnon and Ross Connolly for the game.
The game started in physical fashion and was filled with some puzzling officiating by referees Wells and Williams. Sheffield’s Lee Bonner made a clean but hard hit on Scott McKenzie at the Sheffield blue line. Brodie Jesson approached Bonner and the pair exchanged words and Jesson gave Bonner a push in the back. Bizarrely, the officials awarded a match penalty to Jesson for roughing and ejected him from the game, much to the bemusement of players and supporters of both teams. With Tigers facing a five minute Sheffield power play the penalty kill unit had to work hard to keep the Steeldogs out. With the penalty killed and Tigers back to full strength, they were immediately back on the penalty kill after Vladimir Luka was called for high sticking but killed off that penalty as well.
As the period approached the half way mark Tigers finally got some offensive zone time and went close with Luka narrowly deflecting a pass from Scott McKenzie wide of the goal.
Tigers finally got a power play chance of their own in the final minute of the period after Nathan Ripley was called for tripping. Telford needed just sixteen seconds to break the deadlock. Jonathan Weaver hitting a slap shot into the top right hand corner of Dimitri Zimozdra’s goal to open the scoring.
The second period was punctuated with more puzzling officiating with several penalties awarded that no-one could understand. Tigers were the beneficiary of such a call when Bonner was given an elbowing penalty and an unsporting conduct penalty at the same time to give Telford a four minute power play. Before the penalties were served Zimozdra was called for delay of game after kicking his net off its mooring twice in quick succession. With Tigers having a 5-on-3 power play they added a second goal. Weaver passed to McKenzie who skated in on goal and shot the puck over Zimozdra’s glove and into the roof of the net.
Jack Hopkins went close when he hit the cross bar with a fierce wrist shot as did Bonner for Sheffield up the other end.
Tigers played sensible possession hockey in the third period, running the clock down and repelling any Steeldogs attacks. With ninety seconds left of the game Sheffield called a time out and pulled Zimozdra from the goal. Some resolute defending saw Day get a shut out and Tigers sealed the game with a third goal in the dying seconds. Luka scoring into the empty net.
Tigers lead at the top of the league is extended to four points and Telford also have a game in hand on second placed Swindon Wildcats.
Final Score: Sheffield Steeldogs 0 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3.
Scorers: Jonathan Weaver, Scott McKenzie and Vladimir Luka.
Man of the match: Jonathan Weaver.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “It was a good win and a good performance, everyone played hard and I’m pleased for the boys to have our second shutout of the season, a good job by the whole team. There were two standouts tonight – Brad Day is playing very well and giving us the opportunity to win games every night and Jonathan Weaver was excellent. He always shows so much composure and poise on the puck but he’s also very competitive in defensive situations and really sets the standard for others to follow. I’m delighted to end the weekend with four points from four.”