Tigers round off league season with victory over Lightning

Tigers coach Tom Watkins paid tribute to his side’s record of just one home loss all season, as they rounded off their league campaign with a 3-1 win over Milton Keynes Lightning.

Doug Clarkson and Corey McEwen look for the puck for Telford. Photo: Steve Brodie
Doug Clarkson and Corey McEwen look for the puck for Telford. Photo: Steve Brodie

Victory at Telford Ice Rink on Sunday night was the Tigers’ sixteenth in a row in all competitions, a run that saw them finish the year twelve points clear in first place.

The newly-crowned English Premier League champions now go on to play Guildford Flames at home this Wednesday, as attention turns to the play-off series.

And Watkins was quick to praise his troops’ efforts across a testing league season.

He said: “Home form is absolutely massive and I don’t think I have ever been part of a team that has only lost at home once all season. It is a phenomenal record and a great achievement.

“To back that up with just five regulation losses and a couple of overtime ones is fantastic. We top scored in the league again, so that’s three seasons in a row we’ve done that.

“Fans want to see teams that score a lot of goals and I like the fact that we have added offensive play alongside a solid defence.”

Sunday’s encounter saw Telford take the lead after just three minutes, thanks to a goal from captain Jason Silverthorn.

Milan Kolena doubled the hosts’ advantage at the halfway point of the second period, as they took a firm grip on proceedings.

And it was Rick Plant who appeared to have sealed victory at the end of the session, giving Telford a three-goal cushion.

The Lightning, however, hit back in the middle of a hotly-contested final period with a strike from Mikolaj Lopuski.

But some fine defensive work from Telford closed down the Milton Keynes attack and handed coach Tom Watkins that sixteenth successive win.

Watkins added: “I thought we were really good tonight and took some good opportunities to score. Their netminder, who doesn’t play very often, was excellent tonight.

“To only lose once at home, like I said, is a fantastic record. After everything the guys have been through, they kept their standards up there and kept on picking up wins.

“We were a bit lucky at times tonight and Milton Keynes hit the post on a couple of occasions. It was a shame we got ourselves on that five on three, but we’ll learn from that and we’re now able to look forward to the play-offs.”