Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Wiltshire on Saturday night to take on the Wildcats.
This fixture in recent seasons was a game between the two title contenders but with both teams struggling for form this season it was no longer a top of the table clash. With Telford in an awful run of form and with only two wins in the last nineteen games, the Shropshire side had slipped down the league table to eighth place. With the final two playoff places seemingly a straight fight between Basingstoke, Bristol and Telford, every point would be crucial.
Tigers were again without Jonathan Weaver and Ricky Plant.
Telford needed a strong start to the game but as has happen so often this season they conceded a goal early on. Just three minutes into the game, Russ Cowley scored to put the hosts ahead.
Tigers fought back from the early goal and worked hard throughout the first period but fell further behind when Brodie Jesson was called for a cross check allowing Swindon’s power play unit to score a second goal with Cowley setting up Tomas Malasinski to shoot low past Brad Day.
As the second period progressed Telford got back into the game. Edgars Bebris was called for slashing giving Tigers a power play. Scott McKenzie worked the puck to Vladimir Luka who smashed a shot past Renny Marr in the Swindon goal.
With Tigers back in the game it was important not to concede again before the end of the second period but slack defending let in Aaron Nell to score Swindon’s third goal just before the break.
Five minutes into the third period Tigers scored a second goal and were firmly back in the contest, Rory Hermann continued his recent good form scoring from close range off McKenzie’s pass.
But, just as it seemed the Shropshire side were back in the game they conceded again – less than a minute later. Nell scoring his second of the game with a fierce shot from distance that flew past Day.
With Telford pushing to get back into the game once again, Swindon broke away and scored a fifth goal. Bebris finishing off a pass from Steve Whitfield to leave Tigers three goals behind.
With the game effectively over, Tigers collapsed defensively, conceding two further goals within a minute. Nell completed his hat trick and was followed by a goal from Reed Sayers for Swindon’s seventh.
A late consolation goal from Luka was followed by Sayers’ second of the game to finish off the scoring. Tigers poor run of form continues with only two wins in twenty games.
With playoff rivals Basingstoke beating Bristol the gap to seventh place is now four points. Bees and bottom placed Hull also won and Tigers’ next game sees them take on Bees in a crucial game at home.
Final Score: Swindon Wildcats 8 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3.
Scorers: Vladimir Luka (2) and Rory Herrman.
Man of the match: Sam Watkins.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “For fifty minutes or thereabouts we played a really solid game and got back to 3-2 and at that point you think we’ve got the momentum in our favour. The third period had been all us to that point. But on the next shift we concede so it’s back to a two goal deficit, then the next shift we have another goal against and before you can catch your breath we are out of the game.”