Watkins staying upbeat despite defeat

Telford Tigers’ boss Tom Watkins will urge his players to learn the lessons of their opening play-off defeat to Guildford Flames on Wednesday.

The 3-0 loss ended a sixteen-game winning run for the Tigers, who beat the Flames 4-2 just two weeks previously.

The EPL champions must now regroup for the rest of the play-off campaign, which also sees them play Sheffield Steeldogs and Peterborough Phantoms over the next fortnight.

Watkins said: “It is a tough set of games, but it’s no different to the other teams. We’re experienced enough not to let that get us down and there is plenty of time.

“Saturday night is another home game and another opportunity against a tough Peterborough side.

“I would like to think we’ll learn a lot from Wednesday. We need to get a better start and make sure our powerplay is slicker, although our penalty kill was immense.

“I had hoped the five on three penalty kill would change momentum, but sadly it was not to be. But there are five games left and plenty of time.

“I thought we started slow and trying to play from behind is always frustrating. I don’t think Guildford came here and did anything we haven’t seen all season.

“We struggled to break it down and they did a great job of getting in the way, and making it hard to get pucks through. Their netminder didn’t really have any quality saves to make tonight.

“We didn’t really sustain our forecheck off the bat and in a play-off game you want that good start. We’ve got to accept that everyone will come here and up their game. We have got to do the same.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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