Hexagon Telford Tigers lost to Hull Pirates 7-5 on Sunday evening.
Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Hull on Sunday night for the second of back to back road games.
Tigers had won the top of the table clash with Swindon 3-2 on Saturday night and faced a tough task at free scoring Hull. Rivals Swindon faced a difficult trip to Peterborough with the Phantoms on an eight game winning streak in the league, the game against Hull was a huge one for Telford.
Tigers remained without the suspended Andy McKinney and Thomas McKinnon and were also without Jonathan Weaver, Dan Mitchell and James Smith.
Tigers started with Brad Day in goal, Ash Smith started for Hull.
As in the game against Swindon, Tigers made the perfect start to the game, taking the lead in the second minute. Ricky Plant sent a pass from behind the goal to Jason Silverthorn, who beat Smith at the second attempt. Day was called into action early on, making a save from Jason Hewitt at point blank range. Hull equalised and owed some good fortune to their goal. A clearance from the Hull defence hit Corey Goodison’s stick on the Hull blue line and deflected into the path of Matt Bissonnette who skated into the Tigers’ defensive zone and hit the puck low past Day to equalise. Tigers were failing to clear their defensive zone and paid the price when a poor clearance from Danny Rose was intercepted on the Tigers’ blue line and recycled by Bissonnette to the unmarked Bobby Chamberlain to tap in to give the Pirates the lead. Joe Aston was sent clear on goal for Tigers but he shot straight at Smith and the puck was cleared. As the period drew to a close, Ross Kennedy fell heavily to the ice and limped out of the game, leaving Tigers with only four defenseman.
Tigers opened the second period with a goal after just thirty-one seconds. Nick Oliver’s shot from the blue line was parried by Smith and then forced into the net by Jason Silverthorn from the top of the goal crease. Tigers were pressuring the Hull goal and Scott McKenzie hit the post with a wrist shot. Despite the Tigers’ pressure, a goal from the first penalty of the game was scored by Hull. Tigers’ Adam Taylor was called for a cross check, giving Hull a power play. Matty Davies set up Jason Hewitt for a shot from the right circle which flew past Day and into the net. Just over a minute later Hull added a fourth goal. Davies scoring from close range after being set up by Bobby Chamberlain. Tigers ended a disappointing period two goals behind and with a lot of work to do to get back into the game.
The deficit got higher just a minute into the third period. Ollie Lord’s attempted clearance was blocked and kept in the Tigers’ zone by Kevin Phillips who passed to Davies in front of goal. Oliver managed to block Davies’ shot with his stick but the puck spun up off Oliver’s stick and went over Day into the net to put Hull 5-2 ahead. Tigers struck back almost immediately with a power play goal. With Phillips serving a tripping penalty for Hull, Danny Rose hit a long range shot which was tipped by Ricky Plant past Smith, drawing Tigers back to two goals behind. Tigers then missed a glorious chance to cut the lead further. Whistle was sent clear on goal but Smith managed to save the shot. This proved costly as Hull scored a sixth goal shortly after. Bissonnette banking the puck off Day’s back and in for his second of the night. Once again Tigers answered straight back, Silverthorn completing his hat trick with a precise wrist shot past Smith.
Hull took advantage of some tired defending when Whistle failed to clear the zone and the puck broke for Chris Wilcox to bury a shot past Day for Hull’s seventh goal. Silverthorn scored his fourth of the night as the game entered the final five minutes, with a finish from close range to give Tigers hope of a comeback. Despite their best efforts, the team could not score again and Hull maintained possession to see out the game.
Tigers’ loss coupled with Swindon’s overtime loss to Peterborough means the Tigers’ lead at the top of the table is cut to three points with seven games left to play.
Final Score: Hull Pirates 7 Hexagon Telford Tigers 5.
Scorers: Jason Silverthorn (4) and Ricky Plant.
Man of the match: Dominik Florian.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “I can’t fault the guys efforts tonight, we gave it everything we had, we emptied the tank against Swindon and unfortunately didn’t have the legs or bodies this evening. We started the game well, I was pleased with our transition and we made good decisions but by mid-way through the second period you could see we were struggling. In the third period the team battled and kept going but it’s tough to ask any more from this group. Ross Kennedy left the game at the end of the second period, which adds to our injury concerns. We don’t seem to have had much luck on that front and with players suspended it’s asking a lot to win here.”