Tom Watkins will order his Telford Tigers squad to use Sunday night’s 4-3 loss to Peterborough Phantoms as motivation for the rest of the season.
The Tigers, who beat Manchester Phoenix 4-2 in Telford on Saturday, are currently top of the EPL standings on goal difference from MK Lightning.
A dramatic encounter in Peterborough saw the Tigers fight back from an early 2-0 deficit to lead 3-2 with seconds remaining, only for the hosts to equalise on the stroke of full-time.
After a scoreless extra period, Phantoms claimed victory in the shoot-out to leave Watkins frustrated.
He said: “We definitely didn’t battle enough and we didn’t start battling until the third period.
“You can’t turn up for just a third of a hockey game without that spirit and it is disappointing with the level of talent we have in the dressing room.
“I said to the guys that this was a big wake-up call for them. That point we’ve lost has got to sting us right now and sting us for the rest of the year.
“We have got to use that every night, when we turn up to play, and we have to be better.
“What happened at the end shouldn’t have happened. We should be able to make sure that with 22 seconds on the clock, we win the face-off, put the puck down the ice and the game is over.
“I think we were second best to a team that was a lot hungrier than us and played with a lot more desire.”
Watkins was happier with Saturday’s performance against Manchester, although his team had to wait unit the later stages of the game to establish a comfortable lead.
Watkins said: “We got ourselves a couple of goals up early in the game, but then gave away two with errors, which was frustrating.
“I thought we dominated much of the second period, but we didn’t get enough pucks to the net or bear down on chances.
“I would say we took the momentum out of them in the second period and carried that on into the third.
“All credit to Manchester. They made it hard for us and battled well with just 11 guys, but our depth and talent level, as well as our fitness, gave us those chances.”
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)