Hexagon Telford Tigers travelled to Yorkshire for a Friday evening game against fourth placed Sheffield.
Tigers were clinging on to the final playoff place but the defeat in midweek to Peterborough mean that Bristol in ninth place had a game in hand over Telford and were four points behind.
Corey Goodison remained unavailable while Charlie Webb was added to the roster.
Tigers started the game in good form and thought they had scored when a shot went past Dimitri Zimozdra in the Sheffield goal but referees Poulton and Wells conferred and disallowed the goal as the net had come off its moorings. Tigers managed to score a goal that counted late in the period. Fin Howells scoring from close range after a cross ice pass from Rory Herrman.
Just twelve seconds into the second period, Sheffield equalised. Alex Graham scoring a controversial goal for the hosts. Graham’s shot went into the goal despite the net appearing to be off it’s moorings in a carbon copy of the goal Telford had disallowed in the first period. But after conferring, the referees gave the goal, much to the disgust of the following from Shropshire.
Tigers defense switched off again thirty seconds later allowing Graham to score his second of the game. Sheffield then made in 3-1 with a goal from Lee Bonner. Ricky Plant pulled a goal back for Tigers late in the period with a superb solo effort, skating from centre ice, beating two defenders and shooting past Zimozdra.
But once again Tigers defensively lost their heads allowing Sheffield to score twice in twenty seconds. Graham completed his hat trick after skating unopposed from the red line and hitting a wrist shot past Brad Day and was closely followed by a goal with just five seconds of the period left by Brady Doxey. Tigers were three goals behind and facing an uphill task.
The third period was close with both teams having chances. Telford pulled a goal back to give them hopes of a comeback, with ten minutes of the game remaining. Sheffield’s Lee Haywood was serving an interference penalty when Tom Carlon’s initial shot was saved by Zimozdra but Sam Watkins was on hand to turn the puck in to narrow the deficit to two goals.
Any hopes of a comeback were ended three minutes from the end of the game, when Jonathan Kirk scored for the hosts to seal the contest.
Final Score: Sheffield Steeldogs 6 Hexagon Telford Tigers 3.
Scorers: Fin Howells, Ricky Plant and Sam Watkins.
Man of the match: Ricky Plant.
After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “I’m not sure how we do it but somehow we find a way of kicking ourselves in the backside!
“We effectively lost the game in in a ninety second stretch at the start of the second period and a ninety second stretch at the end of the second period. You always want to be your most disciplined at the start and end of the period to carry momentum into the next phase of the game but we gave them life at the start of the period giving up two quick goals and the same at the end of the period and in three or four minutes we’d undone all the hard work of a very strong first period and end up having to chase the game.”