Telford Tigers left to rue wasted power plays in away loss
Head coach Tom Watkins condemned his side’s slack power plays as Telford Tigers slipped to a narrow 3-2 defeat in a top-of-the-table clash at Sheffield Steeldogs.
Tigers led in Sheffield through Lucas Price before the hosts turned the scoreline upside down with two quickfire goals.
Talisman Vladimir Luka rammed in an equaliser and it was Watkins’ visitors who looked more likely to net a decisive third but they were punished for wastefulness as Steeldogs’ Jonathan Phillips scored the winner.
Watkins felt Tigers were hard done by to lose, but was unhappy with some departments.
He said afterwards: “I think we deserved something from that game but if you don’t take your opportunities when they come along and keep teams on their heels, that’s what happens.
“Where special teams have given us so much momentum in games this season, on Saturday it was a struggle for us on the power play.
“We didn’t move the puck quickly enough and were not direct when we had the opportunity. I will be looking for an improvement in this area in our next game.”
Tigers were hampered by a lack of availability in Yorkshire, with the suspended Jesse Sutton joining Danny Rose, Sam Watkins, Nick Oliver, Jonathan Weaver and Connor Lee on the sidelines.
New import recruit Jaden Peca, a forward from Canada, did not complete his registration in time to face the Steeldogs.
But Telford started well at the iceSheffield venue and went ahead on 10 minutes, after Price converted on the rebound following a save from Dimitri Zimozdra after neat build-up play by Louie Newell.
Sheffield equalised in the second period with Jason Hewitt’s shot into the top corner before, 30 seconds later, Sam Cooper’s fierce shot from the point beat an unsighted Tigers netminder Brad Day.
The goals continued to flow as Telford’s Luka hauled his side level at 2-2, taking advantage of a power play, with a trademark powerful shot after Rhodes Mitchell-King provided the chance.
Tigers wasted a chance for 3-2 when Jake Price led a two-on-one break but his wrist shot rose on to the crossbar when well-placed.
But the visitors paid for Price’s unsporting conduct in the final quarter and Steeldogs took advantage of a crucial power play. Matt Bissonnette fed Phillips to net the winner with eight minutes left.