Hexagon Telford Tigers faced off against Basingstoke Bison on Sunday evening with Tigers languishing in seventh place in the league standings Tigers needed to get back to winning way after an awful run of eleven defeats in the last twelve games.
Basingstoke were below Telford in the table and had lost to Bees the previous evening whilst Telford had the night off.
Tigers started the game without Jonathan Weaver, Ricky Plant, Nick Oliver, Deakan Fielder and Lucas Price but added Charlie Webb and Liam Bartholomew to the line up.
Telford made the perfect start to the contest with a goal on their first attack. A shot from the blue line by Corey Goodison was tipped past Jordan Lawday in the Bison goal by Scott McKenzie after just seventeen seconds.
McKenzie was then sent to the penalty box along with Basingstoke’s Marcus Mitchell for roughing. Whilst both teams were a man down, Bison equalised. Zack Milton was unmarked in front of goal and shot into the roof of the net.
Midway through the period Rhodes Mitchell-King retaliated to a cross check from a Bison player with a cross check of his own but only the Tiger’s players infraction was called. Frustratingly for Telford, Bison scored almost immediately on the subsequent power play. Gael Lubwele scoring from close range to put Basingstoke ahead, a lead they held at the end of the first period.
Referees Poulton and Williams were frustrating the home crowd by not calling a number of penalties against Bison players but then calling everything against Telford. Sam Watkins was boarded behind the goal but nothing was called. Then an almost identical check up the other end was called against Tigers’ Jake Price giving Basingstoke another power play.
Basingstoke took advantage of the extra attacker and scored their third goal of the game. Milton gained the offensive zone far too easily and then sent a pass across the slot to Edgars Landsbergs who shot into the open net. Tigers also lost captain Jason Silverthorn through injury.
Tigers fought back and gave themselves hope in the latter stages of the second period. Thomas Banner was called for interference and finally Tigers had a power play of their own and pulled a goal back. Michell-King found McKenzie in space in the right circle and the Tigers’ forward shot low past Lawday to draw Telford within a goal of the Bison lead.
Fin Howells missed a glorious chance at the start of the third period, shooting over with the goal at his mercy. McKenzie’s shot then rang off the crossbar as Tigers piled pressure on the Bison goal. But once again Bison broke away and scored, Aiden Doughty tapping in from close range.
Tigers had a power play when Bison were caught with too many men on the ice. Telford could not score and as the penalty ended Liam Morris was sent on a breakaway which he finished with a low shot to end any hopes of a Telford comeback.
A late consolation goal from Fin Howells could not put a gloss on the scoreboard as Tigers fall to a twelfth defeat in thirteen games and their poor run of form continues.
Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 Basingstoke Bison 5.
Scorers: Scott McKenzie (2) and Fin Howells.
Man of the match: Jake Price.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins commented, “Another night another set of obstacles to try to overcome, we were short of players anyway but then having to continually juggle the lines I thought the players gave everything they had this evening. We didn’t get the result we all are working so hard for but the performance was there, the desire was there.
“We got a good fast start but didn’t have the best first period. Despite missing so many key players for this game, I thought we were the better team during the second and third period. We created so many Grade A scoring chances which I think was ultimately the difference in changing the game in our favour.”