Tom Watkins highlighted a flashpoint at the end of the second period as the catalyst for Telford Tigers’ comeback victory over Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday.
A powerplay strike from Doug Clarkson (above) on 36 minutes made the scoreline 3-2 to the Phantoms, but proceedings threatened to boil over at the end of the session.
The resulting fight ended with both sides having four men at the start of the third period – and it was the Tigers who capitalised with Clarkson’s second goal of the night, just after the restart.
Further goals by Rick Plant and Milan Kolena gave the Tigers a 5-3 win and left them eight points clear at the top of the EPL.
Watkins said: “I think we were a little frustrated at that point and we’d had a couple of guys get run over, so I told the guys to stand up for themselves, or they’ll carry on doing that.
“We know Sam Zajac will back his team-mates up all day long and he jumped straight in there. Little things like that make a big difference to the mentality of a game.
“We came out four-on-four, then got a goal pretty quickly. It’s just about doing those little things well.
“I felt during the first and second periods that when a team comes at us we kind of forget where we are a little bit.
“But we got back on the same page and I thought we played the third period really well – we were exceptional.
“Peterborough played really well and came at us pretty hard. That kept us on our heels and we kind of fell into mismanaging the puck.
“I thought our powerplay goal in the second period was huge and came just at the right time. It got us going and gave us a good lift.
“It was another come from behind win and championships are built on teams with character. We’ve got a lot of that in this team.”
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)