Watkins looks for improvement, despite win over Bees

Tigers coach Tom Watkins will demand an improved performance from his men against Basingstoke on Sunday, despite watching them beat Bracknell Bees 3-0.

Saturday night’s victory in Berkshire extended Telford’s lead at the top of the EPL to nine points, although second-placed Milton Keynes have two games in hand.

A goal in each period secured two points for the Tigers, while netminder Jon Baston collected a shut-out in his first game for the club.

But with reigning champions Basingstoke Bison the opponents on Sunday, Watkins will expect a turnaround in form at Telford Ice Rink.

He said: “The guys know they have to raise their game for tomorrow’s game and raise their level. Attention to detail is going to be key. It has got to be a lot greater than it was today.

“I am certain they won’t turn up with that sort of performance when they play Basingstoke Bison.

“Jon Baston made some outstanding saves in the third period to give us the two points.”

Telford struggled to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges, although they had the better chances against a hard-working Bees outfit.

Doug Clarkson hit the post at the midway point of the session, before he opened the scoring with a fine breakaway goal on 16 minutes.

Sam Zajac hit the Bracknell crossbar just two minutes later, while Baston was forced into a string of saves in the closing moments.

The only highlight of a quieter second period was Lubomir Korhon’s strike on 28 minutes, as Bracknell kept the visitors within reach.

A confident Bees side almost scored at the start of the final session, with Baston once again the saviour for Telford.

And with the hosts having removed their netminder in search of a goal, it was left to Corey McEwen to round off the scoring with an empty-net strike on 59 minutes.

Watkins added: “If you look back at the end of the season, the two points will be important, but the performance tonight was of a low level.

“I think Bracknell grew in confidence, the longer the game went on.

“We should have won the game in the first period and we had some good chances to do that, but when you don’t, you give away hope.

“Bracknell are always going to work hard at home, and I don’t think we had the work ethic tonight.

“We left them into the game until that goal at the end of the third period.”

The Tigers return to action tomorrow night (Sunday) when they host Basingstoke Bison at Telford Ice Rink (6pm). For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com/tickets.

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