Tigers stub out Flames comeback to take points
Telford Tigers took another step towards the English Premier League title with a 9-4 drubbing of Guildford Flames on Saturday night.
Victory at the Spectrum means Telford are still ten points clear of Milton Keynes at the top of the standings, with just six weeks of the season left.
But after building a four-nil lead by the end of the opening period in Surrey, the Tigers saw Guildford threaten to stage a comeback with four unanswered goals after the first break.
Tigers coach Tom Watkins, who watched his men seal victory with three goals in the final session, believes they could have let it slip in that middle period.
He said: “I thought the first and third period tonight were dominant for us, but the second was totally Guildford.
“If you let a team outwork you, get to loose pucks first and win battles in a short space of time, they can hurt you.
“It is something we can learn from and we didn’t let it affect the result, which is the main thing right now.”
Telford’s opening goal came after just five minutes, courtesy of Milan Kolena, who took advantage of a scramble in front of the net to slot home.
Lubomir Korhon added a second for the Tigers moments later with a fine long-range effort, before Kolena doubled his tally at the halfway point of the session.
Jonathan Weaver’s shot through a crowded goalmouth added a fourth on 14 minutes, giving the visitors a healthy cushion at the break.
Watkins added: “I thought it was a bit of a false scoreline to be honest, and maybe that was our problem in the second period.
“We came out and took it a little bit easy, so as a group we have got to be honest with our own performance in that period.”
The second session started well for Telford, as Danny Rose struck with a long-range effort that deceived Flames netminder Dean Skinns.
But the hosts began their comeback on 25 minutes with a goal from Michal Satek, before Ben Campbell added a second moments later.
Campbell scored another on 28 minutes and then completed his hat-trick to make it 5-4 just after the 34 minute mark.
Telford halted that comeback with three minutes of the period remaining, however, thanks to Doug Clarkson’s wrist shot into the top corner of Skinns’s net.
“I’m not sure if that goal killed Guildford off, as it was still a two-goal game at that point and we always say that is the worst goal in hockey,” Watkins said.
“It was definitely a big goal for us and just mentally settled us down a little bit.”
The final session served to seal victory for the Tigers, starting with a smartly taken strike by Matty Davies after 49 minutes.
Rick Plant squeezed the puck past Skinns from close range to make it 8-4 with seven minutes remaining, before Corey McEwen snapped up a tap-in goal just before the final buzzer.
The win also extended Telford’s winning run to nine games, but Watkins believes his men could have performed even better.
He said: “I sat a few guys down tonight, as I didn’t think they were in the game and they have got to learn from that.
“There’s guys out there with a tonne of ability, but they have got to play with more grit, jump and aggression.
“It helps us if we’re able to turn a team around and turn pucks over and sometimes that is a little bit frustrating.”
The Tigers are back in action next Sunday (February 19th) when they welcome Peterborough Phantoms to Telford Ice Rink (6pm). For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.