The Senators made the trip to Telford for the second of their fixtures of the weekend, buoyed by a strong performance and excellent result against the Blackburn Hawks. Telford proposed a tough prospect, with 3 wins so far this season and eye on rectifying 2 losses in their previous games, one a shock heavy defeat on the previous night to the Hull Jets.
The game started quick and action packed, with the opening minutes seeing both teams forcing the issue. The Tigers made the most of their early opportunities, with Callum Bowley quickly reacting to an opening in space at 3 minutes in and just beating Mark Hartley, who caught some of the puck on its way through. The Sens once again proved that a team to be undeterred by setbacks and set about redoubling their attacking efforts, with the consistent waves of attack paying off with the equaliser 2 minutes 23 secs later. Nathan Britton claimed the goal with a deft finish from a slick pass by Tom Humphries.
The Sens maintained the pressure for the following 10 minutes, challenging the Telford NM Louis Edwards regularly. Tigers captain Karol Jets offered the Sens the numerical advantage, with his second penalty of the 1st period putting the Sens on the powerplay. Elliott Knell, Tom Proctor and Joel Aheran continued their impressive start to the season, with some great cohesion and team play giving Elliott Knell the space to fire home a Powerplay goal to give the Sens the lead with 3 mins remaining.
As the period closed, the Sens could reflect on an excellent response to an early Tigers goal and went into the break having dominated much of the play, outshooting the Tigers by double with 18 efforts on the Tigers net.
The pace of the game continued into the second period, with the Sens aiming to build on their lead and not sit back. Powerplay opportunities went both ways, with neither team able to capitalise following resolute defending and goalkeeping from each team. The Sens persistence and patience was rewarded with 5 mins remaining in the 2nd period. The Sens continued faith and development of our Academy talent paying dividends, with Tyler Nixon and Sam Rodgers combining excellently to put the Sens 2 goals ahead. Rodgers showed his ongoing maturity, intelligence and speed to drive wide and create space, dropping a perfectly weighted pass for Nixon who expertly sniped the puck past the Tigers NM. The Sens took a 2 goal lead into the break, having defended resolutely with none conceded. The Sens again outshot the Tigers and the relentless attacks seemed to be wearing down the Tigers resolve.
The 3rd period began with the Sens refusing to take the foot off the gas, early pressure and considered attacks saw the Sens put the game beyond the Tigers at 4 mins into the 3rd. Knell, Proctor and Aheran again combining expertly to pick apart the Tigers defence. A series of acute passes was capped off with an impressive finish by Knell, who registered his 2nd goal of the game. The 3rd period was controlled largely by the Sens, with the Tigers legs also appearing to fade following a short-benched trip to Hull the previous night. With strength in depth allowed from utilisation of our talented Sheffield Academy players, the Sens dominated the possession and comfortably outworked their opponents in the remaining minutes. The Sens had a late challenge to face with 6 mins remaining, with the Tigers offered a 4 minute powerplay opportunity. This resulting from intimidation tactics from the Tigers, appearing keen to gain a spark from confronting Humphries and others. Although the challenge was willingly laid down to Humphries, the long-time Sen quickly dispatched his opponent and showed that the Sens are not a team to be intimidated. The Sens comfortably defended the 4 minute powerplay, with some calm and professional play seeing the 4 men on the ice controlling possession, despite being a man down.
The period concluded with confrontation, with the frustrated Tigers appearing to lose some of their discipline, which was rewarded with a 10 mins misconduct to player coach Callum Bowley.
All in all the Sens returned to Sheffield with 2 points in the bag, another excellent performance and a 4 point weekend to take them up to 2nd in the table. On a weekend filled with outstanding performances by our Sheffield Academy prospects, Lewis Otley again showed the wealth of talent being developed at the club by being awarded the man of the match for the Sens. The Sens shield was given to Mark Hartley, for another solid and commanding performance between the pipes. The Sens outshot the Tigers 40 to 28, a clear indication of the ever improving attacking prowess being offered.
The Sens now look to get back to work in training, ready to face the Bradford Bulldogs in a tough encounter on the road next weekend.
Sens – Mark Hartley 28/1 – 96.43%
Tigers – Louis Edwards 40/4 90.00%
Elliott Knell 2+0 Tyler Nixon & Nathan Britton 1+0 Tom Proctor & Joel Aheran 0+2 Tom Humphries & Sam Rodgers 0+1
*Photograph courtesy of Telford Tigers & Steve Brodie 2017*