Shropshire Star

Luka leads the victory charge for red-hot Tigers

Telford Tigers tasted success in their final away league game of the season as they kept their NIHL play-off hopes alive.


Vladimir Luka bagged a hat-trick as Tigers ran out 8-4 winners in an entertaining NIHL clash at Bristol Pitbulls.

Tigers, who went into the clash having won four games in a row, made a bright start the lead after four minutes when a shot from a tight angle by Fin Howells surprisingly beat Bristol netminder Ben Norton.

Bristol hit back with a goal from Adam Harding who got the last touch during a goal mouth scramble.

Shortly after, with Jake Price serving an interference penalty, Bristol took the lead through Sean Morris was unmarked in front of goal and lifted the puck over Tigers’ net minder Matty Bloor to score.

Telford were level early in the second period when Joe Aston hit a shot from the left circle which flew past an unsighted Norton. But minutes later the Pitbulls were back ahead with a goal from Jacob White-Sey.

Tigers drew level shortly after with Luka lifted the puck over the sprawling Norton.

Tigers were back in front with a power play goal. Recce Cochrane was serving a hooking penalty when Tom Byrne hit a back handed wrist shot past Norton.

Telford then added a further power play goal after Neil Liddiard was awarded a kneeing penalty. A perfect pass from Archie Hazeldine saw Luka hammer home.

There was still time in the second period for Bristol to pull a goal back despite missing a penalty shot. Elliot Lewis was given the chance to strike back with a penalty but his effort was brilliantly saved by Matty Bloor.

At the same time the penalty was called, Price was awarded an unsporting conduct penalty allowing the Pitbulls a power play and they cashed in when Max Birbraer scored to make it 5-4.

Tigers struck back at the start of the the third period as Scott McKenzie and Howells combined well to pick out Luka, who smashed home his third goal of the game.

Telford weren’t finished and added a further two goals through Jesse Sutton and Jaden Peca.

After the game head coach Tom Watkins, said: “The power play was lethal for us – four goals from four power play chances – and although we gave up a goal on one of their power plays I thought we were fairly solid with our special teams.”

The third period was our best of the game, we were hard to play against and scored some well worked goals.”