Shropshire Star

Sharp-shooter Vladimir Luka with four as Telford Tigers maul Bees

Vladimir Luka was lethal in front of goal as the forward’s four goals helped Telford Tigers overcome a flat start to sting the visiting Bees.


It was third time lucky for Tom Watkins’ men, who had lost their previous two clashes with the Slough visitors in overtime in this season’s NIHL.

Tigers’ return to winning ways after last weekend’s defeat to Swindon came chiefly thanks to the prolific finishing of fan favourite Luka – and made for a memorable evening as fans threw teddies on to the ice after the first goal, to mark the club’s annual teddy toss in support of the Children’s Ward at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Watkins was pleased his side were able to respond from a slow start and help lift the mood inside Telford Ice Rink after a low-key start both on the ice and in the stands.

“I’m pleased to finally get a win over the Bees,” said Tigers head coach Watkins.

“After a slow start where they came out at us pretty hard and kept us on the back foot, it was good to get the first goal and see the teddies fly onto the ice.

“I thought the atmosphere was a little flat in the first period which kind of reflected the performance we gave.”

Watkins added: “We stepped it up in the second period with some well taken goals five on five and on the power play. It was good to kill the game off at that point and get a deserved win.”

Telford were indebted to netminder Brad Day for keeping Bees at bay in the opening minute but the hosts began to find their feet after five minutes and went ahead on 13 minutes as Luka smashed into the corner following nice build-up play by Scott McKenzie and Jesse Sutton.

The contest exploded in the second period as Tigers stretched their 1-0 lead to 5-1 and Bees struggled to maintain their composure and discipline.

Sutton fed Luka with a fine pass and the latter beat Brett Shepherd for his second before Fin Howells made it three 30 seconds later.

A Telford power play with Bees’ Gianni Vital serving a penalty for throwing an opponent’s stick saw Lucas Price net for 4-0. Bees’ Will Stead was ejected for roughing and Tigers made them pay as Luka’s fierce slapshot sealed the hat-trick.

Bees struck with a consolation before Sutton made it 6-1 with a stunning individual effort and Jaden Peca tipped in for seven. Penalties and goals continued as the visitors scored and Luka’s slapshot flew into the top corner for a wonderful eighth.

Bees netted two consolations but a memorable night belonged to Telford.