Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Hull Ice Arena on Sunday night to take on Hull Pirates.
Tigers had hit top spot in the league after beating Leeds Chiefs the previous evening and this game was Tigers’ game in hand over 2nd placed Swindon Wildcats. Hull had lost to Milton Keynes Lightning in their previous game and were looking to make up ground on the Tigers in the league standings.
Tigers were again without the services of Jonathan Weaver, but with the exception of Weaver, were able to ice a full roster.
Brad Day started in goal for Telford, with Ashley Smith in goal for Hull.
Tigers started the game well and tested Smith in the Hull goal early on. Tigers almost scored when Smith was knocked over by one of his own players and before he could recover his position, Scott McKenzie sent a shot in on goal that was blocked on the line by a Hull defender. Hull’s first real goal threat saw them open the scoring in the 6th minute. Jonathan Kirk’s shot from the blue line was saved by Day but David Norris was first to the rebound to score. Tigers responded within a minute to record their opening goal of the contest. Jack Watkins setting up Brandon Whistle from behind the goal to allow Whistle to slam a wrist shot past Smith.
Tigers have had good reason to question the officiating at times this season and they were left puzzled by the decisions of both referees Emerson and Good when Hull’s Bobby Chamberlain grabbed Tigers’ Dominik Florian punched him several times, then rammed him into the boards. Both players were given fighting penalties, despite Florian not dropping his gloves or throwing a punch. The officials also missed a blatant tripping call prior to the altercation.
Hull regained the lead in the 10th minute. Kirk again shot from the blue line and his shot was only partially saved by Day, allowing Peter Fabus to tap in the rebound. Tigers responded with a second goal, 2 minutes later. Dan Mitchell sent Jason Silverthorn in on goal, allowing the Tigers’ captain to cooly place a wrist shot low past Smith to draw Tigers level at 2-2.
Tigers had further reason to question the officiating as the period ended. Florian worked his way in on goal in the dying seconds and was clearly tripped as he was about to shoot. However, both officials ignored the offence and no penalty was called.
Tigers first attack of the 2nd period was rewarded with a goal. Florian superbly broke into the Hull defensive zone and his shot was saved by Smith, the puck rebounded perfectly for Jason Silverthorn to beat Smith with a shot from close range to give Tigers their first lead of the evening. Fabus then missed a glorious chance for Hull, shooting wide of an open goal with Day out of position.
Tigers were playing some superb hockey and deservedly scored again in the 27th minute. Silverthorn was sent in on goal by Corey Goodison and smashed a shot through Smith’s legs to complete his hat trick and give Tigers a 4-2 lead. A minute later, Tigers’ lead was extended further with the best goal of the night. Florian picked up the puck in centre ice, skated past the entire Hull defence and hammered and unstoppable shot past Smith to put Tigers 5-2 ahead.
Hull pulled a goal back in the 34th minute. A shot from Fabus hit a Tigers’ defender’s skate in front of Day and was deflected into the net to cut Tigers’ lead to 5-3.
Tigers rounded off a dominant period with their 6th goal. Ross Kennedy sent a shot in on goal from by the boards on the blue line and Smith was slow to react, allowing the shot to loop over him and into the net.
At the start of the 3rd period, Hull changed their net minder with Steven Hudson replacing Smith.
The officials gave the Tigers’ bench further reason to be aggrieved in the 47th minute when Ricky Plant was given a holding penalty which appeared to be extremely harsh. On the subsequent power play Hull scored their 4th goal of the game. Lee Bonner tapped the puck in at the far post after being set up by Norris’ pass. Despite conceding a goal, Tigers never looked like losing their lead and sensibly retained possession to see out the clock. Any hope for Hull was extinguished in the 59th minute when Florian scored his second goal of the game, beating Hudson with a low shot to score Tigers’ 7th goal and seal the victory. Tigers maintain top spot in the league and extend the lead over 2nd placed Swindon to 3 points.
Final Score: Hull Pirates 4 Hexagon Telford Tigers 7.
Scorers: Brandon Whistle, Jason Silverthorn (3), Dominik Florian (2) and Ross Kennedy.
Man of the Match: Jason Silverthorn.
After the game Head Coach, Tom Watkins commented, “It was another important win for us on the road, against a talented team. I was pleased we were able to answer back quickly when we conceded goals which didn’t allow them to play with too much momentum. It was good to see a number of players blocking shots, it’s that kind of commitment which makes a big difference to the score sheet. Overall, it’s been a good weekend.