Shropshire Star

In-form Telford Tigers ease into the play-offs with six of the best

Telford Tigers are heading into the NIHL National League play-offs in good form after completing their regular season with a 6-0 victory over Bristol Pitbulls.


Fin Howells (two), Louie Newell, Scott McKenzie, Rhodes Mitchell-King and Vladimir Luka netted against the bottom-of-the-league side – stretching Telford’s winning streak to six.

Tigers’ victory saw them finish sixth in the league as Peterborough beat Swindon to finish fifth, meaning that Telford will be in Group B of the play-offs groups along with Milton Keynes, Swindon Wildcats and Raiders.

And after the game, head coach Tom Watkins said: “It was a good night’s work completing the regular season with a home win and a first shutout for Matty Bloor plus also putting together a winning streak ahead of play-offs helps build confidence and belief.

“Once again our penalty kill was very solid and our power play made a difference. We moved the puck well and made it hard for them to stop us.

“It was important to make sure we played with good habits and consistency ahead of the play-offs.”

Harry Ferguson sat out the final game of his suspension and Telford started with Matty Bloor in goal, 24 hours after winning 8-4 in the reverse fixture at Bristol Pitbulls.

Tigers started Sunday’s game well and were ahead after five minutes when Vladimir Luka picked out the unmarked Finn Howells in the slot.

Howells hit a shot that hit Pitbulls netminder Dean Skinns, but trickled behind him into the goal.

Two minutes later, the home side doubled their lead.

Joe Aston sent a pass from behind the goal for Louie Newell to tuck home.

Tigers were indebted to young netminder Bloor, who made several quality saves to keep the Pitbulls forwards out.

Midway through the second period, Tigers had a third goal. A superb pass by Luka allowed Scott McKenzie time to pick out the bottom corner of the Bristol goal with a wrist shot.

Telford continued to dominate in the third period and increased their lead in the opening five minutes.

A shot from Rhodes Mitchell-King went in off the bar and past Skinns for Tigers’ fourth goal.

Four minutes from the end of the game, Tigers added a fifth goal when on the power play.

With Bayley Harewood serving an unsporting conduct penalty, Howells scored his second of the game with a well-placed shot past Skinns.

The final goal of the game was scored in the dying seconds of the contest and again was a power play goal.

Howells set up Luka for a trademark slap shot that flew past Skinns and gave him no chance.

Bloor earned his first National League shut out and was awarded man of the match for his performance.