Tigers roar to National Cup triumph

(PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

Telford Tigers coach Tom Watkins hailed his team as they beat Peterborough Phantoms to win the first NIHL National Cup competition.

It was a good home 8-3 win to add to the first leg away win as Tigers took the prize with a 14-7 aggregate scoreline.

And Watkins couldn’t have been prouder of his team and reckoned the first goal of this particular contest was key for them.

“It was a great performance from the first shift to the last. We knew if we could score first or/and win the first period it would put Peterborough on their heels,” he said.

“Psychologically it’s a tough situation for them, but to finish the first period 4-1 up gave us a big advantage. Once we got ahead it was all about managing the puck well and being disciplined.

Ross Kennedy scored one for Telford in Wednesday’s second leg (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

“We couldn’t have got a better start than we did, the guys were really on it, were lethal in front of goal with some excellent finishes from Silvs (Silverthorn) and Scott (McKenzie), but particularly Brandon Whistle who stood out and with an overall huge performance.

“It’s a great night for the players, they’ve worked extremely hard and had to battle every night to be here where we are now.

“Hopefully this is the start of an exciting week for everyone connected with the club. We have had excellent support all season from fans and sponsors, it’s great to see so many people getting behind the club, it really was a great atmosphere and special night.”

The first period certainly proved to be the one where Phantoms hopes of turning around the 6-4 first leg deficit was killed off as Tigers went out their business in ruthless fashion.

Scott McKenzie passed to the unmarked Brandon Whistle in the slot for the opening goal, with the latter firing a low one past Jordan Marr, Peterborough’s goalie, into the bottom corner of the goal after only a couple of minutes.

Slava Koulikov’s side were soon two down shorthanded when they lost control of the puck in the Tigers’ defensive zone, allowing Whistle to take possession and skate on goa, delivering another low finish.

Brandon Whistle picked up a hat-trick for Tigers (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

A powerplay goal soon followed when Ricky Plant got the final touch on a Jonathan Weaver shot via Scott McKenzie and Marr was beaten once more, pretty much ending the final as a contest.

Petr Stepanek pulled one back for the Phantoms as they looked to recover from an intense opening few minutes of the game, but Jason Silverthorn reopened the three-goal lead with a well-taken wrost shot.

There was no let up from the home team in the second and soon added a fifth as Ross Kennedy slammed a ripper from the blue line as it flew past Marr, which was then followed by Whistle completing his hat-trick, assisted by Weaver in the build-up.

Padelek got his second for Peterborough to make it 6-2, but Tigers found the net again through Joe Aston followed by McKenzie adding an eighth for Telford.

Tom Norton scored a late consolation goal, but celebrations among the home fans were well underway as they revelled in their glory as they turn their attention to capturing the NIHL National League title.

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