Tigers Stung by Late Bees Goals

Telford Tigers travelled to Bracknell on Saturday night to take on the Bees in an NIHL National League game. Tigers were without the suspended Andy McKinney after the Tigers’ forward received a six game ban for his involvement in an altercation with Milton Keynes’ player Grant McPherson in the previous game. Telford were also without the injured quartet of Brandon Whistle, Jonathan Weaver, Scott McKenzie and James Smith. Whistle took part in the pre-game warm up but was deemed not fit enough to start the game. Tigers added Sam Watkins to the line up.

Bracknell started with Adam Goss in goal, Tigers started with Brad Day.

Tigers made a slow start to the game and were grateful to Day in the opening minute after he made a great save from Zack Milton’s wrist shot. Tigers’ defence were guilty of some sloppy passing early on and gifted possession to Bracknell’s attack several times but were able to recover the puck and clear the zone.  Tigers came closest to scoring in the eighth minute with captain Jason Silverthorn firing a wrist shot which rang off the cross bar. Dominik Florian then forced a glove save from Goss. As the period progressed, Tigers began to get their passing game going but were grateful to some excellent defending from Corey Goodison for keeping out a 2-on-1 Bracknell break. Goodison threw himself across the ice to block a shot and managed to stick check the puck away from danger. An even first period ended goalless with both teams looking to improve.

Tigers made a poor start to the second period, giving an early power play chance to Bracknell, when Jack Watkins was called for high sticking. Tigers’ luck worsened when Danny Rose attempted a clearance and broke his stick, effectively reducing the Tigers’ penalty kill to three players. Bracknell took full advantage of their good fortune with a shot from Dominik Gabaj which beat Day to open the scoring. Less than two minutes later, Bees had doubled their lead. Tigers’ defence got caught out again with Josh Ealey-Newman wide open in the slot, scoring low past Day. Ealey-Newman then had a glorious chance to score again but somehow shot wide from close range. This was followed by another great chance for Bracknell, this time Aidan Doughty directed the puck wide when well placed to score. As a disappointing period entered the final five minutes, Tigers finally got on the scoreboard with a stunning individual goal from Ricky Plant. The Tigers’ veteran forward skated from his own blue line, beating three Bracknell players and sliding the puck past Goss to draw Tigers within a goal of Bracknell.  Once again, however, Tigers’ defending let them down within a minute of the Plant goal. Roman Malinik found it far to easy to skate round the defence and force his way to the net beating the helpless Day with a low shot. Tigers responded immediately with a second goal. Jack Watkins skating in on Goss and shooting low to his right and into the net to reduce the deficit. Tigers ended a poor period somehow, only a goal behind.

Tigers opened the third period on the penalty kill after Thomas McKinnon took a roughing penalty at the end of the second period. Tigers almost scored in the opening seconds on the power play for Bracknell when a Florian clearance down the ice took a crazy bounce off the side boards and was heading into the net, wrong footing Goss, who had left his net to play the puck.  The Bracknell net minder managed to get his stick to the puck, a split second before it would have gone in the goal. Tigers managed to draw level in the game, despite being a man down. Adam Taylor intercepted a poor pass across the front of the Bracknell goal by a Bracknell defender and beat Goss with a wrist shot high into the net to make it 3-3.  Having just drawn level, infuriatingly Tigers then handed Bracknell the lead. Telford failed to clear the puck several times from their defensive zone, Bracknell won possession and made two quick passes to allow Josh Smith to fire past Day before he could get set. The game was then taken away from Tigers shortly after the fourth goal when Florian was serving a tripping penalty. James Galazzi tipped a Malinik shot past Day to put the Bees 5-3 ahead. Tigers gave themselves no chance to get back into the game in the final few minutes as Goodison took a late tripping penalty which left the team unable to pull Day from the goal, allowing Bracknell to maintain possession on their power play and run down the clock. A disappointing result was made worse by news of a late fightback for Swindon, who had been losing to Basingstoke Bison, resulting in the Wildcats beating the Bison to close the gap at the top of the table to just three points.

Final Score: Bracknell Bees 5 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3.

Scorers: Ricky Plant, Jack Watkins and Adam Taylor.

Man of the match: Dominik Florian.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “It is a solemn dressing room this evening. The players are feeling down tonight, we’ve gone from having a strong winning mentality to a team that are lacking that killer instinct, that winning mentality we had earlier in the year. Players have got to stop trying to affect the game from an individual basis. We need to simplify our game, get to spots quicker and play a more direct game. It is time for us all to look in the mirror and make a difference every night.”

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