Pirates scupper Telford Tigers’ title hopes
Telford Tigers lost 6-3 at Hull Arena against Hull Pirates on Saturday night, ending their NIHL Moralee Conference title hopes.
Tigers knew before the game that only a victory would see them still in the title race on the final day, and they led 3-1 at the halfway mark with goals from Scott McKenzie, Jason Silverthorn and Jack Watkins.
But Hull fought back with five unanswered goals to win the game and set up a winner-take-all game against Sheffield to decide the league winner.
Tigers coach Tom Watkins admitted the best team won on the night, saying: “Sadly we didn’t have what it takes.
“No complaints from me, we were beaten by the better team. The guys worked tremendously hard and really sacrificed their bodies for the team.
Netminder Sam Gospel was voted man of the match with Watkins adding: “Sam Gospel kept us in it at times and made a string of fine saves all night.”
And Watkins paid tribute to the travelling fans who made trhe long trip to Hull on Saturday.
“I must acknowledge and thank our travelling fans,” the coach said. “They travelled in large numbers and really got behind the team, for which we are very grateful.”
Tigers were caught out when McKenzie gave away a needless tripping penalty in the Hull defensive zone and Lee Bonner fired a wrist shot past Gospel for the game’s opening goal.
Tigers levelled after McKenzie beat a Hull defender with some superb stick handling and placed a wrist shot into the bottom corner to equalise.
As the period entered the final minute, Hull’s Bobby Chamberlain slashed Gospel after he had made another save and the referee called Chamberlain for the penalty. Tigers took just seven seconds to make the extra man advantage pay. Corey Goodison’s shot rebounded off Smith’s pads perfectly into the path of Jason Silverthorn.
Tigers added a third goal in the 28th minute when Watkins collected a rebound from Brodie Jesson’s shot. Watkins was almost level with the goalline at the side of the goal and somehow managed to elevate the puck into the roof of the net.
But the hosts rallied and levelled through Matty Davies and Sonny Karlsson and added further goals from James Archer, Jason Hewitt and Chamberlain in the third period.