Shropshire Star

Telford Tigers' Tom Watkins: We found a way to win when it mattered

Telford Tigers head coach Tom Watkins hailed his team for ‘finding a way to win’ after firing in eight goals to beat Bees.


Tigers went into the clash having lost their last three games and had seen the teams below them narrow the gap in the NIHL National Division.

Telford needed to get back to winning ways, but were without Deakan Fielder, who was suspended for both games against Bees after being ejected from the game against Swindon for boarding.

Also missing were Joe Aston, Connor Lee and Jake Price – but goals from hat-trick hero Vladimiar Luka, Fin Howells (two), Jesse Sutton, Scott McKenzie and Jaden Peca did the damage in a thrilling 8-5 win.

Watkins said: “We found a way to win and got it done in the third period when it mattered. Prior to that it was a game of cat-and-mouse and it was hard to shake them off.

“We didn’t defend anywhere near hard enough around the front of our net, we know the weapons they have and we were guilty of allowing too many soft chances which resulted in goals from the blue paint.

“That said our third period was much improved and I’m very pleased to get the points.”

A scrappy first period burst into life in the 11th minute when Telford took the lead.

A Luka shot was saved by Brett Shepherd in the Bees’ goal but the puck fell perfectly to McKenzie, who shot into the open net to start the scoring.

Three minutes later, McKenzie returned the favour for Luka to double the lead.

Bees pulled a goal back late in the period and then levelled shortly into the second period.

Fin Howells put Tigers ahead once more, but Bees hit back within a minute to make it 3-3.

Goals continued to be traded as strikes from Jesse Sutton and then Luka were both cancelled out.

Telford finally got out of sight in the final period as Luka completed his hat-trick, shooting high into the net from a tight angle.

Howells made it 7-5 and, with the Bees’ netminder pulled from their goal, Peca stole the puck and shot into an empty net to seal a much needed victory for Telford.