A Solihull Barons side full of familiar faces to Telford Ice Rink deservedly won an entertaining match on Saturday evening. The Barons started off well with plenty of pressure, but it was the Tigers who drew first blood through Karol Jets on a breakaway. The Tigers then doubled the lead within a couple of minutes, with Sean Weeks putting home a rebound on the far post. The lead lasted for a couple of minutes until two strikes in 41 seconds levelled the score up.
The Barons scored a couple in the second period, but late goals from James Smith and Macauley Heywood ensured the scores were level after two and all was to play for in the third. The Barons scored two early goals in the period, sandwiching an injury to Ryan Selwood (which saw him stretchered off), who tripped a Tigers player before crashing heavily into the boards. With six and a half minutes to go, a comeback looked possible as the Tigers scored through Sean Weeks, but an instant reply and two more quick goals ensured that the Barons would take the points. The scoring was ended in the final minute as Russ Plant scored in his final game at Telford Ice Rink.
The Barons were the better side and had lots of pressure, but the Tigers did a great job of blocking shots and shutting down lanes. The Tigers also took the chances they were able to create well. I can see why the Barons are top of the league and have not lost a game, but was very impressed with how the Tigers stuck at their task. The team seems to be a young one and they gave the unbeaten champions a good game, which seems very promising for the future of the Tigers in both the NIHL and EPL. I was particularly impressed with James Smith, who was very quick and looked a constant danger to the Barons.