Shropshire Star

Watkins thrilled to see his Telford Tigers’ hunger for goals

Tom Watkins praised Telford Tigers’ ruthlessness in front of goal as they condemned Milton Keynes Lightning to a 6-3 defeat in the National League Play-Offs Group B.


Tigers, who won both of their opening two play-off fixtures against Raiders, extended their winning streak to nine matches.

Watkins said: “With play-off hockey you have to come to play and the team came to play tonight.

“Right from the start of the game they tried to be physical and pressured us hard and we were able to move the puck well and we created two odd man rushes in the first two minutes of the game.

“There was absolute commitment from the team, players sacrificing the body, it was a phenomenal effort and we had great support from the travelling fans.

“We talk a lot about playing the right way and being smart defensively but what I liked was we worked hard for our offence, we took the opportunities when they came, we scored some well worked goals, some excellent finishes.

“Of course we had to dig deep, they have a quality line up and are a dangerous team to play against but we battled hard and our penalty kill unit led by Brad (Day) typified that attitude.

“We now have a very important game against Milton Keynes in our rink and we need a big home crowd to roar us on. This team deserve it.”

Tigers capitalised on a power play, as Archie Hazeldine and Jesse Sutton combined effectively to set-up Jaden Peca for the opener during the first period.

They doubled their lead midway through the second period when Sutton collected another assist for James Smith, who applied a calm finish past Jordan Hedley.

Telford stretched their lead to three before the end of the second period when Sutton registered his third assist for Louie Newell to bury a low finish into the net.

Milton Keynes stepped their game up in the third period and eventually reduced the deficit through Toms Rutkis.

Tigers refused to buckle and restored their three-goal cushion when Sutton added the finishing touches to a sweeping attacking move. Sutton doubled his tally as Tigers capitalised on Milton Keynes’ attacking endeavours with a ruthless breakaway. goal

Lightning scored twice in the space of a minute through Carter Hamill and Ross Venus to threaten a comeback, but Fin Howells eased those fears with a late goal to seal the win.