The Tigers claimed a hard fought victory at the Link Centre over the Wildcats that was only made safe in the last minute with an empty net goal. The Tigers were the better team in the first period and goals from Sam Zajac and Joe Miller (on a delayed penalty) gave them a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats came out much stronger in the second and outworked Telford, scoring through Aaron Nell and Tomasz Malasinski to level things up. With thirteen seconds of the period left (and on a powerplay), Tigers re-took the lead through Jason Silverthorn. The Tigers extended their lead through Blahoslav Novak in the third before the Wildcats scored through Tom Rutkis with just under two minutes left. Wildcats pulled Stevie Lyle in search of the equaliser, but Tigers wrapped up the victory with Max Birbraer slotting into the empty net.
The game was quite feisty throughout, with a few comings together, but no fights. Owen Bennett appeared to offer Shane Moore early, but was declined. A check from behind from Malasinski saw Dan Scott jump on him and pick up a 2+10 for dropping the gloves, whilst the final buzzer saw Joe Miller and Jonas Hoog have a few words, with Miller seeming to want a little bit more.
The officials took some stick from the Swindon fans, starting with a goal not being awarded in the first after a scramble in front of the Tigers net. Plenty of Swindon fans around me saw the puck cross the line (a particularly impressive feat considering we were the opposite end of the rink and there were plenty of bodies in front of the net!!!!) and many were unhappy at the end of the second; I am assuming that this was because Tigers scored on the powerplay at the end to take the lead again. However, the penalty on Steve Whitfield (tripping, sending a Tigers player through the net) seemed a pretty clear and easy one to award.
The man of the match for the Wildcats was Callum Buglass, with Sam Gospel picking up the award for the Tigers. I thought that Gospel was an excellent choice; he made several good saves and without him, the result could very well have been different.