Shropshire Star

Luka the bazooka is Tigers’ treble hero in Bristol

Vladimir Luka was the hat-trick hero as Telford Tigers clocked up a third straight win while missing suspended head coach Tom Watkins from the bench.


Tigers strengthened their sixth-placed position in NIHL National League with a 4-2 triumph at rock-bottom Bristol Pitbulls

The visitors came on strong in the final period in Bristol after the struggling hosts had levelled at 1-1 and 2-2.

Rhodes Mitchell-King scored the key third goal before Luka sealed his treble into an empty net at the death after the Pitbulls sent netminder Ben Norton out as an extra man.

Telford were without boss Watkins on the bench due to a two-match suspension as they exceeded 50 penalty points for the season as new recruit Aidan Wilson was hit with a six-game ban after a penalty was upgraded on review to a check to the head.

Watkins said after his team’s success: “It was a very close game, both sides had good chances and both goalies played very well, but we found a way to win and get it done on the road, with a short bench.

“Unfortunately it looks like we lost another player to injury tonight which is a worry and at the moment we don’t look to be getting any of the injured players back anytime soon.

“I’m grateful to Steve (Molyneux), Sam (Watkins) and Danny (Rose) for taking the reins tonight on the bench.”

Tigers were also hampered by the absence of players Jake Price, Connor Lee, Joe Aston and Archie Hazeldine, who were all unable to ice. But Telford led in minute three as Scott McKenzie teed up Luka to strike into the roof of the net.

Bristol’s Adam Harding equalised in the second period before Luka ended the period in style for the visitors, to go 2-1 up from Fin Howells’ pass.

But early in the third period the hosts were level again having taken advantage of a power play from a Jaden Peca tripping penalty. Brennan Feasey shot high past Brad Day.

Parity was short-lived and Telford’s key third goal came as Harry Ferguson’s pass put Mitchell-King in on goal and his wrist shot beat Norton.

Norton was called out of goal as a last resort, but Czech important star Luka made the win safe with his third into the unguarded home net.