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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Match Report: Hexagon Telford Tigers 6 – 5 Swindon Wildcats

Hexagon Telford Tigers faced off against Swindon Wildcats on Sunday evening at Telford Ice Rink having lost their last three games and were in need of a victory to boost their pursuit of a play off place. Corey Goodison remained unavailable.

Tigers made a bright start to the game and opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the game. Danny Rose sent Rory Herrman in on goal and the import forward sent a pass to the onrushing Tom Carlon who sent Renny Marr in the Swindon goal the wrong way and slid the puck past him to his right.

Conceding the goal seemed to wake up the visitors who dominated much of the remainder of the period. Brad Day in the Tigers’ goal made a number of key saves to keep the Wildcats out.

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The game turned on an incident late in the period. With Tigers already down a man due to Danny Rose being called for hooking, Deakan Fielder was called for boarding and Balint Pakozdi cross checked Fielder who responded by punching Pakozdi. The officials conferred and Fielder was given a match penalty for fighting and ejected from the game. Swindon had an extended 5-on-3 power play and made the two extra men count. Aaron Nell drew the sides level with a shot from the slot which beat Day who was screened. Then Nell’s shot was tipped past Day by Edgars Bebris to give Swindon the lead.

Tigers started the second period with a power play after Sam Godfrey was called for a cross check at the end of the first period. Tigers made the man advantage count with a cheeky goal from Herrman. With Marr expecting a pass across goal, Herrman sent a shot from a tight angle off the netminder’s helmet which deflected the puck into the net.

Swindon hit back with a scrambled effort from close range which was forced home by Pakozdi. The visitors were only ahead for thirty seconds though as Telford struck back with a third goal. Vladimir Luka took possession of the puck behind the goal and sent a pass in front where Carlon was perfectly placed to smash the puck past Marr.

The game was starting to get fractious and there was a running battle between Pakozdi and Scott McKenzie which threatened to boil over. Pakozdi clearly cross checked McKenzie in front of referee Ions but the official bizarrely decided to ignore the infraction, allowing Pakozdi to send a pass into the slot for Nell to score his second of the game and put Swindon 4-3 ahead.

Tigers deservedly drew level shortly after. Rose sent a pass out of defence to Herrman who drew the Swindon defence towards him and found the unmarked Luka who hammered a shot past Marr to level the game again.

McKenzie cross checked Pakozdi in retaliation for the earlier cross check he received but this time referee Ions decided to call a penalty. Tigers penalty kill unit had to work hard to keep the puck out but some resolute defending saw the period end with the teams level.

At the start of the third period, Swindon changed netminder with Dean Skinns replacing Marr.

Telford took the lead five minutes into the third period. Lucas Price was sent in on goal but he miscontrolled the puck which fell fortuitously for Sam Watkins to take control of and he hit a perfect wrist shot past Skins.

With Swindon pushing to get back into the game the officials were causing more disquiet from the home supporters. A harsh boarding call against Jake Price was followed by an unsporting conduct penalty. Telford had to fight off four minutes of power play and some superb defensive play saw them kill off both penalties.

With the game entering the final minute Swindon pulled Skinns from the goal to add an extra attacker. The tactic paid off when with just six seconds of regulation time left Swindon equalised. Nell banking the puck in off Day from behind the goal.

Overtime saw Telford dominate possession but it was a defensive lapse that saw Tigers win. Godfrey’s clearance hit Herrman allowing him to skate in on goal and shoot through Skinns’ legs to win the game for Telford.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 6 Swindon Wildcats 5 (after overtime).

Scorers: Tom Carlon (2), Rory Herrman (2) , Vladimir Luka and Sam Watkins.

Man of the Match: Brad Day.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “A win is a win. Two points are what count. It was a tough slog and the goal against us six seconds from the end of regulation was a blow but we managed to put it behind us and tilted the ice in our favour in overtime.
We hung in there a little as Swindon had a lot of power play time and good chances but some very committed solid performances across the team tonight saw us across the line.”

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