Shropshire Star

Tigers snap their losing streak

Telford Tigers made sure their long losing streak would not continue into the new year.


The Tigers were 3-0 winners at Solway Sharks to end 2023, halting a run of seven straight defeats.

Vladimir Luka, Louie Newell and Archie Hazeldine scored for Telford, who are next in action at home to Hull Seahawks on Saturday, January 6.

“That was a big win, an important win and a battling performance from the whole team,” said Tigers head coach Watkins. “It was a very tight game and you felt whoever scored first it was going to be a big goal.

“Importantly we backed that first goal up with a second in a short space of time to take an additional advantage.

“We played desperate and certainly sacrificed the body a lot, blocking shots, with some huge blocks in that last five minutes.

“We had tremendous support on the road from the Tigers’ fans which is massively appreciated by us all. I hope everyone got home safely and can enjoy a happy new year.”

A scrappy first period saw little in the way of scoring opportunities, but Telford were unlucky when a Jesse Sutton shot was cleared off the line.

More of the same followed in the second period with both teams struggling to create any offense.

Sutton was again Tigers’ most effective player and he forced a shorthanded chance when Connor Lee was serving a holding penalty.

Sutton broke towards goal and net minder Curtis Warburton’s stick broke with the force of Sutton’s shot, but the Tigers forward’s follow-up shot was blocked and then cleared.

The longer the game went without a goal, the more the first goal would be crucial and thankfully for the large following of fans that had travelled from Shropshire to Scotland, it was the visitors that got it early in the third period.

Kell Beattie was awarded a delay of game penalty for covering the puck during a goalmouth scramble, giving Tigers a power play.

Within 20 seconds, Tigers scored. Hazeldine sent a pass across the ice to Luka, who sent a first-time shot low past netminder Curtis Warburton.

Less than a minute later, Telford had a second. James Smith’s shot was saved by Warburton and deflected high into the air. Louie Newell reacted quickest by catching the puck mid-air, dropping it on to his stick and then lifting it over the prone Warburton to double the lead.

With the game entering the final five minutes, Telford had to defend resolutely as Solway were pushing hard to get back into the game. But Brad Day and the Tigers’ defence stood tall and blocked everything thrown at them.

With just over a minute of the game left, Rhodes Mitchell-King was called for a cross-check, allowing Solway to have a power play and to pull Warburton from the goal to add an extra attacker.

With the Sharks having a two-man advantage, the Tigers’ fans got even more noisy to spur the team to victory.

The penalty kill unit defended superbly and sealed the win with a shot from their own defensive zone.

Hazeldine sent a shot the length of the ice into the empty net to seal a much-needed win and put an end to the run of consecutive defeats.