Swindon Wildcats 2-8 Telford Tigers

Tigers started well and took the lead on 02.14 through Jason Silverthorn – his shot from the right circle went over Stevie Lyle’s blocker and into the top of the net. The Tigers continued to pressure, but it was the Wildcats who scored the next goal at 04.30. A shot from the blue line on the right side by Tomasz Malasinski went through Jon Baston. The scores remained level for 28 seconds before Doug Clarkson put the Tigers back in front with a finish from in close after a pass from the left by Corey McEwan. The Tigers continues to press and had a powerplay when Phil Hill picked up 2 minutes for cross-checking at 07.47, but were unable to capitalise on the man advantage. Play was stopped at 10.48 when Sam Bullas collided with the referee, who stayed down; he was able to get up and continue. The third goal came at 11.37, when Milan Kolena picked up and finished a rebound. At 13.19, the Wildcats had their first powerplay, with Matty Davies serving 2 minutes for tripping. No sooner had the Tigers killed the penalty then they were back on the powerplay following Max Birbraer being called for tripping at 15.24. The Wildcats were able to kill the penalty, but with 50 seconds of the period left, Milan Kolena added his second goal of the night with a shot from the left circle.

Tigers continued to apply pressure at the start of the second period and soon added another goal. The puck was hit around the boards and suddenly came off them and Warren Tait was able to capitalise at 21.46. Swindon seemed to be sinking fast without trace and not putting up a fight, but that changed at 22.14. Adam Jones took exception to a hit by Sam Bullas and the gloves were dropped. After some shirt grabbing, Jones had Bullas against the boards by the Wildcats bench and threw some punches, but Bullas was able to reverse the position and landed some big shots before the linesman separated them. This seemed to spark some life into Swindon, who started to create some chances. The game threatened to boil over again at 26.43 when Malasinksi sent Silverthorn into the boards head-first. Sam Zajac reacted quickly and had hold of Malasinski’s shirt, but Malasinski did not want to get involved and picked up 2+10 for checking from behind. Robin Kovar, on his debut for the Wildcats, was the next man into the penalty box at 31.28 for tripping. The Tigers ran into some penalty trouble throughout the latter half of the period, with Jones picking up 2 minutes for holding at 33.41, Kolena getting 2 minutes for interference at 38.07 and Jonathan Weaver being called for roughing at 39.45.

Tigers were able to kill the penalties, but the Wildcats pulled a goal back at 43.03 when Kovar finished from in close on his backhand. Any thoughts of a Wildcats comeback were quashed quickly as Weaver fired in from the top of the right face-off circle at 44.10. Jones picked up 2 minutes for interference at 52.32 and the Tigers added their 7th goal of the evening short-handed; Clarkson was at the top of the left circle and put a shot on target that found its way in. The goal prompted a change of netminder, with Michael Crisp replacing Lyle. Kolena rounded off the scoring and completed his hat-trick at 55.51 with a shot from the left.

It was a good performance from the Tigers, who started very well and dominated the first period. The Wildcats came into the game at the start of the second period following the Jones/Bullas fight, but the Tigers continued to look the better side and create good chances. Both times the Wildcats scored, the Tigers responded with a goal of their own quickly, preventing the Wildcats building up any momentum.

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