Shropshire Star

Telford Tigers’ fright night as they are spooked by Phantoms

Head coach Tom Watkins said Telford Tigers’ home defeat to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday evening ‘was a hard one to take’.


The Tigers were unable to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at champions Leeds Knights as they slipped to a 6-3 reverse.

But it looked as if they were on their way to a first success over Peterborough in the NIHL National League this season when they held a two-goal lead – only to give up their winning position.

“That was a hard one take,” said Watkins. “A very frustrating evening from my point of view and very similar to Saturday night.

“We got into a good position as a team, gave up a two-goal lead and then conceded five unanswered goals once again through individual mistakes and individual indiscipline, which was extremely costly.

“We are already missing a number of key guys through injury and suspension.

“We can’t put ourselves in a position to be punished by the officials and then subsequently the opposition.”

Tigers had also lost Jake Price through suspension from the night before, meaning the already-stretched roster was down to the bare bones.

Youngster Ryan Leese stepped up to the National League side to assist in defence and an even first period saw both teams score.

Peterborough opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a gift.

A bad pass across the Tigers’ defensive zone straight to Lukas Sladkovsky was punished with a shot past the unsighted Brad Day, who was caught out of position.

Telford’s frustration grew as Jesse Sutton was given an unsporting conduct penalty directly after the goal. The power play for Peterborough followed, but it was the home side who would score.

Scott McKenzie took the puck into the Phantoms’ defensive zone and lost control, but it fell perfectly for Deakan Fielder, who sent a low shot across the ice into the bottom right-hand corner of Jordan Marr’s goal.

Tigers took control of the game early in the second period and were dominant early on.

Vladimir Luka gave Telford the lead in the fourth minute of the period. Jaden Peca found the unmarked Fin Howells in the slot – Howells’ shot was saved by Marr, but Luka was on hand to shoot the rebound into the open net.

Peterborough lost their poise and gave Tigers a five-on-three power play. With Joe Gretton and Ivan Nordstrom in the penalty box, Telford took full advantage of the two extra attackers.

Luka sent a pass low down to Sutton, who was at the side of the goal and able to jam the puck home past Marr before he could react.

Tigers had the ascendancy, but then proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot.

Peca was given a double minor penalty, gifting the visitors back-to-back power plays – and they scored on both.

Ales Padelek shot into the roof of the net from close range and then, despite some heroics from Day, Austin Mitchell-King scored on the rebound to equalise.

As the period was ending, Telford committed another defensive howler when an errant pass across the defensive zone went straight to Ralfs Circenis, who accepted the early Christmas present and shot over Day’s shoulder to give the Phantoms the lead heading into the third period. During the third period, Telford pushed for an equaliser, but were always liable to be caught out at the other end.

With seven minutes gone, the Phantoms made Tigers’ task even more difficult as Jasper Foster broke in on goal and shot past Day to double the visitors’ lead.

Tigers had one final chance to reduce the deficit when Brad Bowering was given a double minor penalty for holding and unsporting conduct.

But Tigers’ power play unit was not firing on all cylinders and barely threatened the Phantoms’ goal.

With the clock winding down, Peterborough sealed the win with a goal from Jarvis Hunt as Telford fell to back-to-back defeats this weekend.