Shropshire Star

Tigers are hunting home comforts in top-five bid

Head coach Tom Watkins wants Telford Tigers’ fans to roar them further up the NIHL National League table after another perfect weekend.


The Tigers saw off Bristol Pitbulls on the road on Saturday, before defeating Solway Sharks via a penalty shootout back in Shropshire on Sunday.

And with a huge home game coming this Saturday against Peterborough Phantoms, Watkins has urged supporters to keep backing their team.

He said: “We had to dig deep after falling one behind, with Jack (Watkins) coming up with a big goal to tie the game – then Brad (Day) stole the show in the shootout.

“Given we were without 11 players, this is a huge win against a rival team which sets up a push for fifth place. And with us playing Peterborough next Saturday, we have a lot to play for – I hope to get a huge home crowd to support the team in a very important fixture for us.”

Tigers made a perfect start to the game and took the lead in the second minute.

Jaden Peca sent a pass from behind the Solway goal to the unmarked Jesse Sutton, who shot low past Solway netminder Curtis Warburton.

Tigers wasted a five-on-three power play chance shortly after and the period ended with the hosts holding a narrow lead.

Solway equalised in the early stages of the second period when Mason Alderson’s shot was saved by Brad Day, but Nolan Gardiner swept home the rebound.

At the start of the third period, Tigers regained the lead with a power play goal from Fin Howells after a neat exchange of passes with Jesse Sutton and Rhodes Mitchell-King.

But, moments later, Solway were in front as the Tigers’ defence went to sleep and conceded two goals in 20 seconds.

Craig Peacock scored from close range after finding himself unmarked in front of goal.

Then just after the restart Peacock sent a shot through Day’s pads to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

With Tigers missing a couple of power play chances, it took a breakaway for the home side to get level.

Louie Newell sent Jack Watkins in on goal and Watkins’ shot went through Warburton to equalise.

With no further scoring, the game went to overtime and Tigers can thank Day for keeping them in the game after making a stunning save to repel a Solway attack.

With both sides cancelling each other out, the game went to a penalty shoot out. Solway’s Lewis Young and Telford’s Scott McKenzie were the only two scorers in the opening five shots for each team, which meant the shootout would go to sudden death.

Harry Ferguson stepped up for Telford and beat Warburton with a well-placed wrist shot.

Gardiner had to score to keep the shoot out going but his shot went over the goal and Telford won the game.

Tigers have now won four in a row and have gained a four-point weekend for the second consecutive week.

Watkins – who was serving the second game of his suspension for the team reaching 50 penalty points this season – added: “I’m really pleased for the team – they put a lot into both games this weekend and came away with maximum points for their efforts.

“And I’m grateful to the guys that took control of the team in my absence.

“It was a hard-fought win.”