Shropshire Star

Tom Watkins hails character despite overtime defeat

Telford Tigers boss Tom Watkins has praised his side’s character but felt they missed an opportunity in their overtime loss to the Bees on Saturday night.


Watkins’ charges went 2-0 down but battled back to 2-2 in a fierce battle, before eventually losing 3-2 in overtime.

As Tigers fell to their fifth defeat in a row Watkins had mixed feelings over the result and performance.

Watkins said: “You can look at it one of two ways, we battled back and got a point or we got a bad start and give a team a two goal head start.

“I’d like to say we showed good character to get something from the game, but it was a game that was there for the taking.

“We need the players to raise their games in the absence of others, take on the responsibility to prove they have what it takes to play with the increased minutes.

“We need to work smarter as a group to turn this around and focus on doing what it takes to win games.”

Tigers enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening period but found themselves 2-0 down when Marcel Balaz and Dominik Gabaj took advantage.

Harry Ferguson scored for Telford with four minutes left until the end of the period, before Fin Howells levelled two minutes later.

The game took a fiery turn as fights broke out but Tigers could not transform their threatening attacks into further goals.

A minute into overtime, Tigers got caught on the break when Vladimir Luka turned the puck over on the boards in the Bees defensive zone allowing Vanya Antonov to break in on goal and score.

Meanwhile, Telford Tigers finally broke their recent bad run of form with a 4-1 win against Sheffield Steeldogs at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday.

Tigers came into the game on the back of a five-game losing streak, but took an early lead with a power play goal from Vladimir Luka.

During the second period, Luka added a second after good work by Jesse Sutton left him an open net to shoot into. Then Joe Aston scored from close range to extend the home team’s lead.

Jonathan Phillips pulled a goal back for Sheffield in the third period, but Luka sealed the game with an empty net goal in the final minute to complete his hat-trick.