Tigers fend off the Steeldogs to maintain their lead

Telford Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins was delighted by his team’s resilience after seeing them edge a nine-goal thriller against Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday.

The EPL leaders lost 6-2 at Basingstoke Bison on Saturday, but maintained their six-point advantage at the top of the table courtesy of Sunday’s 5-4 home victory over the Steeldogs.

“I thought we played pretty solid – Doug Clarkson scored a great hat-trick and he’s got a shot that he gets off really quickly. That makes it hard for goalies to see.

“Jason Silverthorn (above) scored with a great shot and then got another just by battling for the puck in front of the net. I thought we started both periods really well and that helped us.

“Sheffield lived on scraps for large parts of the game and I was obviously disappointed to give up those goals in the second period. That made for a nailbiting end to the game.

“I thought Joe Aston played well and he was solid against Manchester last week.

“He’s a good kid who listens and is always learning. The one thing these young guys need is consistency and to play well defensively.”

While Watkins was happy to pick up the points against the Steeldogs, he admitted that Basingstoke deserved their victory on Saturday.

Rene Jarolin and Ciaran Long both bagged hat-tricks for the home side as the short-benched Tigers found them too hot to handle.

“It was always going to be a tough game for us, but we played okay,” added Watkins.

“t was disappointing on the penalty kill and powerplay, and I think that was ultimately the difference between the two teams.

“Basingstoke put a lot of pucks to the net and into key areas, got a couple of good bounces, and we were a little bit soft off the back door. But I couldn’t fault anyone.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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