Shropshire Star

Howells doubles up as Telford Tigers sink the Seahawks

Telford Tigers got the better of Hull Seahawks for the third time this season in their first NIHL home game of 2024.


After breaking their awful run of consecutive defeats in the last game of 2023 with a 3-0 victory over Solway Sharks, Telford followed it up with a 4-3 victory.

Tigers were without the suspended Jaden Peca whose receipt of only a one game suspension for slew footing suggested that the officials had accepted they got the wrong call in assessing him a major penalty against Sheffield. But the Canadian import forward had also reached ten penalty points for the season which triggered a further two game suspension.

The opening few minutes of the game saw Hull very much in the ascendancy with clear-cut chances being missed by the visitors.

They were made to pay when Vladimir Luka sent a pass off the boards and perfectly into the path of the onrushing Fin Howells, who broke in on the Hull goal unopposed and shot through the legs of netminder Jordan McLaughlin to open the scoring. Tigers went close to doubling the lead, but a terrific save by McLaughlin from James Smith’s close-range effort kept Hull’s deficit at one.

But McLaughlin could not prevent Tigers from scoring moments later when good work from Connor Lee and Louie Newell set up Smith to fire a shot into the top corner.

Midway through the second period Tigers had a third. Luka was once again the provider with a pass to Howells to bury a wrist shot past McLaughlin.

With the scoreline flattering Telford a little, it was no surprise when Hull got back into the game with two goals towards the end of the period. Emil Svec scored with a precise shot from the left circle and then Finlay Ulrick struck from close range. A very close third period saw both team have chances but it looked like Tigers had put the game to rest three minutes from the end of the period when Jack Watkins showed great stick handling skills to beat McLaughlin.

But Hull wouldn’t give up and less than a minute later they pulled a goal back as Svec grabbed his second of the game.

Hull pulled McLaughlin from the goal for the final minute of the game to add an extra attacker and Tigers had two chances to score into the empty net but Jesse Sutton and Lucas Price were both denied by blocks from Declan Balmer.

Hull ran out of time and Tigers got the two points to record back to back wins and a third success this season over their opponents. The teams face each other again next, as Telford travel to Hull.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 4 Hull Seahawks 3.

Scorers: Fin Howells (2), James Smith and Jack Watkins.

Man of the match: Fin Howells.

Tigers head coach Tom Watkins was relieved to see out the game.

He said: “That was a very close game! Despite us taking a three-goal lead I thought Hull were the better team for two periods and certainly stole the momentum at the end of the second period.

“I really liked how we played in the third period. We haven’t been great with a one-goal lead at times this season so how we played the third was going to be key to who won the game. We moved the puck well, had some good offensive zone time and defended with purpose.”