Basingstoke Bison v Hexagon Telford Tigers
Hexagon Telford Tigers traveled to Basingstoke to play the side they beat in their last game.
Telford had announced during the week that Jason Silverthorn and Nick Oliver had injuries that would keep them out for the remainder of the season, adding to the club’s current woes. Tigers were also without Jonathan Weaver, who was unavailable alongside Ricky Plant and Deakan Fielder. However, Connor Keyes, Liam Bartholomew and Charlie Webb rose from the Laidler Division team.
The Tigers were keen to get off to a good start at a rink they’ve had a poor record of late and is often cited as the worst rink in the league. Unfortunately, an early penalty against Danny Rose for interference proved damaging as Aiden Doughty opened the scoring for Basingstoke on the ensuing power play. The Tigers bench were unhappy with the goal as they believed it was offside.
Ten minutes later, Bison doubled their lead with a goal from Gael Lubwele that rocked Telford at the end of the first period. Basingstoke were clearly ahead and were the better team at the end of the first.
The Tigers started the second half on better form, clawing back a goal when Sam Watkins capitalized on a lax Basingstoke defense to pass to Jake Price, who flicked the puck past Jordan Lawday into the Bison goal.
But Basingstoke restored their two-goal lead shortly after when a defensive turnover allowed Liam Morris to fire past Brad Day.
Tigers pushed to cut the deficit in the third third and with ten minutes left Jay King was called to hook, giving Telford a much-needed power play. Fin Howells missed a glorious opportunity when he fired wide but Telford recycled the puck and Vladimir Luka passed over the goal to Scott McKenzie who slammed the puck home to put the Tigers on target for the hosts.
Bison’s Doughty then left the game on a stretcher after a nasty collision with the gangs.
Despite Tigers throwing everything at Bison’s goal and Day pulling in the final minute of the game, Tigers were unable to equalize and suffered another loss.
Final Result: Basingstoke Bison 3 Hexagon Telford Tigers 2.
Scorers: Jake Price and Scott McKenzie.
Man of the Match: Corey Goodison.
After the game, head coach Tom Watkins commented, “We hope Aiden Doughty is doing well. You never like to see a player leave the game on a stretcher.
“We did everything we could tonight, every player came up and played really hard, rough, committed and for me the better team lost tonight but we conceded the first goal which was wide offside , but we fought hard to come back.
“We created so many really good chances and had a lot of chances that unfortunately we didn’t take and we were knocking on the door all night. Our power play moved the puck well and got a big goal and other than the first goal against us our penalty shootout tonight was strong and killed a lot. We have to get better in our discipline, but the leadership is sometimes questionable.
“It was an outstanding performance from Sam (Watkins), both offensively and defensively. He must have blocked around 12-15 shots tonight, which doesn’t go unnoticed by his teammates or opponents.
“The team dug deep, if we keep playing with this spirit we will get our rewards. I think the players that have been promoted from the Laidler team have done a great job and we appreciate their support.”