Lessons for Tigers after play-off loss

Lessons for Tigers after play-off loss

Tigers coach Tom Watkins will urge his men to learn the lessons of their opening play-off defeat to Guildford Flames at Telford Ice Rink on Wednesday night.

The 3-0 loss brings to an end a sixteen-game winning run for the Tigers, who beat the Flames 4-2 just two weeks previously.

The EPL champions must now regroup for the rest of the play-off campaign, which also sees them play Sheffield and Peterborough over the next fortnight.

And Watkins will demand a return to form amidst a punishing tournament schedule.

He said: “It is a tough set of games, but it’s no different to the other teams. We’re experienced enough not to let that get us down and there is plenty of time.

“Saturday night is another home game and another opportunity against a tough Peterborough side.

“I would like to think we’ll learn a lot from tonight. We need to get a better start and make sure our powerplay is slicker, although our penalty kill was immense.

“I had hoped the five on three penalty kill would change momentum, but sadly it was not to be. But there are fives game left and plenty of time.”

The Tigers went behind after just ten minutes at Telford Ice Rink, with Guildford taking early control after a strike from Ben Campbell.

The second session saw Telford up the offensive pressure, but they were unable to find their way past netminder Mike Will.

They did, however, manage to kill a five on three powerplay later in that period, as they neutralized the Guildford attack and found their back into the game.

The final period was much brighter for Telford, although they were still unable to find a way past a stubborn Flames defence.

And Guildford sealed victory with two late goals – first from Campbell, and then an empty-net strike with just two second remaining.

Watkins added: “I thought we started slow and trying to play from behind is always frustrating. I don’t think Guildford came here and did anything we haven’t seen all season.

“We struggled to break it down and they did a great job of getting in the way, and making it hard to get pucks through. Their netminder didn’t really have any quality saves to make tonight.

“We didn’t really sustain our forecheck off the bat and in a play-off game you want that good start. We’ve got to accept that everyone will come here and up their game. We have got to do the same.”

Telford are back in action this weekend, when they host Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday (5.30pm), before a trip to Sheffield on Sunday.

For tickets, go to www.tigershockeyuk.com.