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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Swindon Wildcats 5-6 Telford Tigers

Wildcats started the game well and took the lead 44 seconds into the game as Sam Bullas picked up a pass from the left from Floyd Taylor and put the puck past Sam Gospel. The Wildcats continued to put on the pressure and received a 2 minute powerplay when Danny Rose was called for interference at 2.11. THe Wildcats were unable to score, but received a 5 minute powerplay at 6.06 when Sam Zajac picked up a 5+G for high sticks that drew blood. The Wildcats did score at 10.53, but it was washed out for being kicked in. The Tigers survived the 5 minute powerplay and started to play better. At 13.47, the Tigers got on the scoresheet through Doug Clarkson, who scored from the top of the left face off circle. With 2 seconds of the period remaining, Jason Silverthorn picked up a rebound and put the Tigers into the lead.

The Tigers started the second period with plenty of pressure and the first goal of the period came at 23.46 and went to the Wildcats; they broke and Jan Kostal scored from the top of the right face off circle. Kostal then put the Wildcats into the lead at 26.16 with a shot from the blue line that hit Gospel and went in. Straight from the face off, Bullas was called for tripping, but the Tigers were unable to make the powerplay count. At 33.29, it was the turn of the Wildcats to go on the powerplay when Adam Jones was called for boarding. Kostal completed his hat-trick at 34.15 with a shot from the blue line that appeared to take a deflection before hitting the back of the net. With time running out in the second period, Neil Liddiard received a 2 minute penalty at 36.58 for holding and Clarkson scored his second of the game at 37.34 from close range after receiving a pass from behind the net.

The Tigers started the third period well and at 41.04, scored from the left as Clarkson completed his hat-trick. At 43.51, Adam Taylor scored from a similar position and the Wildcats responded by calling a time out. At 51.03, Tomasz Malasinski scored from close in, firing into the roof of the net. A close in finish was the source of the next goal, with Milan Kolena being the man on hand to finish it off. With just over a minute to go, the Wildcats pulled Stevie Lyle for an extra skater. With two seconds left, the Wildcats took a shot. It took a deflection and trickled wild as the Tigers recorded the win.

Wildcats points: Kostal (3+0); Malasinski (1+1); Bullas (1+0); Hill (0+2); Taylor, Finlinson, Hoog, Birbraer (0+1)
Tigers points: Clarkson (3+1); Silverthorn (1+1); Kolena (1+0); Davies (0+3); Korhon, Tait (0+2); McEwan, Rose (0+1)

Wildcats MOM: Jan Kostal (3+0)
Tigers MOM: Doug Clarkson (3+1)

Swindon Wildcats 2-1 Telford Tigers (after penalty shots)

The match started and on the very first shift, Swindon gained a man advantage as Doug Clarkson received a 2 minute penalty for tripping at 0:26. After surviving the powerplay, the Tigers had some pressure on the Wildcats without threatening much. At 8:02, it was the turn of the Tigers to go on the powerplay as former-Tiger Max Birbraer picked up 2 minutes for roughing. Despite having a player less, the Wildcats looked the most likely to score during the 2 minutes. After the powerplay, the pattern resumed of Tigers having plenty of the puck, but without threatening Stevie Lyle too much. At 16:09, Jason Silverthorn was given a 2 minute penalty for tripping, but the Wildcats were unable to make the man advantage count and the first period finished goalless.

The first goal came at 25:47 when a shot from Sam Zajac by the blue line was blocked by Lyle and fell in front of Silverthorn, who was able to finish from just outside the crease. Lyle picked up a tripping penalty (served by Toms Rutkis) at 28:22; Milan Kolena finished a check on the boards behind the goal and as he was skating back, was tripped by Lyle. Kolena went face-to-face with Lyle before more players came across to the confrontation. The Tigers were unable to take advantage of the extra man and extend their lead. At 30:48, Sliverthorn picked up a 2 minute penalty for hooking and Lee Richardson was given 2 minutes for slashing, resulting in 2 minutes of 4v4 hockey. Richardson was soon back in the box with a 2 minute delay of game penalty at 34:42, but the score remained 1-0 through the powerplay. As the period came to an end, the Tigers ran into penalty trouble with Luke Brittle (slashing) and Matty Davies (delay of game) picking up penalties at 37:25 and 38:24 respectively. The Wildcats took full advantage of having 2 extra skaters and Ben Davies scored from close range at 38:37.

The Tigers survived the rest of second period and the start of the third period with a skater less and were down a man again at 42:25 when Joe Miller was given 2 minutes for roughing. The score remained at 1-1 with the Wildcats looking dangerous on the break and stoppages in play often resulting in players coming together, but with no further penalties being called. At 57:14 Mark Smith received a 2 minute penalty for delay of game, but Telford’s powerplay was ineffective again and it was off to overtime.

3-on-3 hockey tends to be fast moving with plenty of shots, but the Tigers seemed reluctant to pull the trigger at times and neither side was able to find a winner in the five minutes, so it was time for penalties. Jonas Hoog took the first penalty and scored with a low finish past Ondrej Raszka. Michal Satek lost control of the puck, Tomasz Malasinski’s shot was saved down low, Silverthorn shot wide, Jan Kostal shot over and with the last penalty, Kolena lifted the puck over Lyle’s stick to level at 1-1, bringing on sudden death penalties. Birbraer’s penalty was saved by Raszka’s pads, whilst Lyle’s pads kept our Clarkson’s penalty. Aaron Nell put his penalty over Raszka’s glove to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Macauley Heywood stepped up for the Tigers, but his penalty went wide and the Tigers dropped their first point of the season.

Points (Wildcats): Ben Davies (1+0), Aaron Nell, Jonas Hoog (0+1)
Points (Tigers): Jason Silverthorn (1+0), Sam Zajac (0+1)

PIMs (Wildcats): Lee Richardson (4 PIMs), Max Birbraer, Stevie Lyle, Mark Smith (2 PIMs)
PIMs (Tigers): Jason Silverthorn (4 PIMs), Doug Clarkson, Luke Brittle, Matty Davies, Joe Miller (2 PIMs)

Shots on goal (Wildcats): 28 (7-9-9-3)
Shots on goal (Tigers): 38 (11-13-9-5)

Man of the Match (Wildcats): Ben Davies
Man of the Match (Tigers): Sam Zajac.

To read what Aaron Nell had to say after the game, click here
To read what Tom Watkins had to say after the game, click here

Swindon Wildcats 5-3 Telford Tigers

The game started with a quick pace as the puck went from end to end with few stoppages in play, although neither side was able to create any chances of note. The Tigers opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Jonathan Weaver who fired a slapshot from the blue line into the net. The puck seemed to go through Stevie Lyle, who would probably want the shot back. Tigers doubled the lead through the excellent Joe Miller 40 seconds later; the Wildcats gave the puck up behind the net and Miller was able to beat Lyle on his stick side at the near post from a tight angle. This led to the Wildcats calling a timeout and they looked to take a more intense approach to the game afterwards. Matt Selby had some words with Miller at a break in play and when skating off, bumped into a stationary Martin Ondrej, stopped after going past, gave him a look and then continued to the bench.

Whilst the Wildcats were playing with a higher intensity, it was the Tigers who extended their lead further within 3 minutes of the start of the second period through Jason Silverthorn. The three-goal lead only lasted a couple of minutes before Jonas Hoog shovelled a rebound into the roof of the net. Three minutes later, the Wildcats pulled another one back through Aaron Nell and just after the half hour mark, the Wildcats levelled through Adam Harding on a powerplay; a shot hit Sam Gospel on the mask and Harding was on hand to put the puck into the net.

The start of the third saw the Tigers having the best of the play and spending plenty of time in the offensive zone, but struggling to create shooting opportunities and when they did, Lyle was equal to them. When the Wildcats broke, they looked dangerous. Gospel mis-judged a puck behind the net, but the Wildcats were unable to put the puck into a temporarily empty net. It was not to matter, as Nell gave them the lead three minutes later. The Tigers continued to press, but the Wildcats defended well and made sure they won all rebounds off Lyle. Carlo Finucci picked up a late penalty in the last couple of minutes for abuse of officials – he continued to protest, resulting in him being given an additional 10 minutes before finally receiving a 5+Match penalty; as he was skating towards the dressing room, he threw his stick across the ice. The Tigers pulled Gospel in search of an equaliser and there was a coming together behind the net after Miller went for a puck that was temporarily loose from Lyle and Kostal jumped in, grabbing hold of Miller. Wildcats sealed the victory in the last minute through Tomasz Malasinski, who fired into the empty Tigers net whilst in his own defensive zone.

Wildcats SOG: 23 (5, 11, 7)
Tigers SOG: 53 (18, 21, 14)

Wildcats PiMs: 21 (2, 2, 17)
Tigers Pims: 4 (0, 4, 0)

Wildcats Points: Nell, 2+2; Malasinski, 1+3; Hoog, 1+1; Harding, 1+0; Richardson, 0+1.
Tigers Points: Weaver, Miller, 1+1; Silverthorn, 1+0; Gospel, 0+1.

Wildcats MOTM: Nell
Tigers MOTM: Miller

Swindon Wildcats 4-3 Basingstoke Bison (OT)

A brace from Jonas Hoog saw Swindon Wildcats claim their first four point weekend of the season. Swindon started the game by gifting the puck a couple of times to Basingstoke, but the returning Stevie Lyle stood firm in denying the Bison an early opening score. It was the Wildcats who opened the scoring in the eleventh minute through a well-worked powerplay, finding Carlo Finucci unmarked at the far post.

The start of the second period saw the Wildcats on a powerplay again and they extended their lead further through Adam Harding. However, two quick goals through Joe Rand (on the powerplay) and Ciaran Long saw the scores level by just after the halfway mark; both goals were quite scrappy, but the Wildcats second had hardly been a goal of beauty. Some tempers began to fray, with Matt Selby seeming to be looking for a fight and Sam Bullas and Tomas Karpov exchange words after a check, which saw Karpov move towards Bullas before joining the bench – both ended up with 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Penalties mounted for the Bison, with Aaron Connolly (charging) and Ciaran Long (delay of the game) joining Karpov in the penalty box.

The third period was a relatively tight affair, but a third powerplay goal (Hoog’s first) gave the Wildcats the lead with six minutes and thirty seconds to play. Bison pulled Tomas Hiadlovsky with around 90 seconds to go and camped themselves in the Wildcats zone. With 16 seconds to go, Neil Liddiard picked up a cross checking penalty; four seconds later and Bison were level again through Karpov. The game went into 3-on-3 overtime and both teams had shots, but a shot over Hiadlovsky’s blocker side shoulder by Hoog inside the first minute of overtime secured the two points for the Wildcats.

PIMs: Wildcats: 12 (2, 6, 4); Bison: 12 (4, 6, 2)
SOG: Wildcats: 26 (8, 10, 8); Bison: 43 (16, 13, 14).
Points: Wildcats: Hoog – 2+0; Finucci – 1+1; Harding – 1+0; Kostal, Malasinski, Nell – 0+1; Bison: Rand, Long, Karpov – 1+0; Thompson, Mogg, Greener, Vantroba, Rounding – 0+1.
Man of the Match: Wildcats: Jonas Hoog; Bison: Ciaran Long

Swindon Wildcats 3-0 Telford Tigers

The Wildcats recorded a 3-0 victory over the Tigers at the Link Centre following a 3-2 loss in overtime the previous weekend. The first period was a tight affair, with the Tigers probably just shading it; Dan Davies came the closest to opening the scoring with a backhand effort that beat Stevie Lyle, but hit the pipes.

The Wildcats opened the scoring early in the second period through new signing Carlo Finucci, who fired into the roof of the net on Gospel’s nearside. The game then settled into a pattern, with the Tigers applying plenty of pressure (without really troubling Lyle), with the Wildcats breaking dangerously occasionally.

The third continued in a similar fashion, with the Tigers camped inside the Wildcats zone, but unable to score. There was a flashpoint in the third, with Finucci kneeing Jason Silverthorn, which saw players grabbing hold of one another, but only Neil Liddiard and Sam Zajac picked up penalties and joined Finucci in the box. They ended up being joined moments later by Rick Plant and Jan Kostal, who were pushing and shoving off the puck.

The Wildcats second goal came with just under 10 minutes to play and was a shorthanded goal – a poor pass from Joe Graham was picked up and Tomasz Malasinski fired past Gospel. The Tigers continued to apply pressure, but the Wildcats completed the scoring with just over a minute to go as Malasinski added his second of the night.

The game marked another loss for the Tigers where they have out-shot their opponents. Despite plenty of shots, Stevie Lyle was rarely tested, with many of the saves being fairly routine. The Tigers seemed to struggle to get traffic in front of Lyle and any rebounds were quickly gobbled up by defenders and the puck removed from the danger zone. Lyle got man of the match following the shut out, but I was more impressed with the work of the defenders, who got in the way of shots and kept really good chances to a minimum; Stevie Whitfield in particular always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

As well as being unable to convert a large number of shots into any goals, the Tigers also struggled defensively, with mistakes at the back gifting the puck to Swindon players. With the exception of the ever-dependable Zajac, the defenders looked nervous and unsure, failing with checks. However, they were not always being helped out by the forwards, who seemed to be letting players go past them without skating back, notably Max Birbraer in the first period, which gave Danny Rose little option but to concede a tripping a penalty.

Tom Watkins called a timeout in the second period and was very animated, but it only seemed that the clash in third period brought real intensity into the play of the Tigers; too many battles were lost along the boards and the Wildcats seemed to win plenty of 50/50s. Watkins has called for performances to improve otherwise changes will be made – it will be interesting to see what will happen and what they changes will be if/when they are made.

SOG: Wildcats: 25 (16-6-7); Tigers: 46 (15-15-16)
PIMs: Wildcats: 16 (2-2-12); Tigers: 10 (4-0-6)
MOTM: Wildcats: Stevie Lyle (100% saves); Tigers: Sam Zajac (4 PIMs)
Points: Malasinski 2+0; Finucci 1+0; Nell 0+2; Ryhanen, Richardson 0+1

Tigers 5-0 Wildcats

The game between the Tigers and the Wildcats was abandoned yesterday evening with the Tigers winning 5-0. I was not at the game, but have seen the highlights. In the third, Malasinski checked Silverthorn hard into the boards behind the Tigers net. The check was definitely hard, but looked to be ok; there was some pushing and shoving after the whistle blew, but no-one seriously attempted to engage Malasinski in a fight. When Malasinski came off the bench again, so did Silverthorn, who jumped Malasinski and got ejected from the game as a result. Silverthorn evidently felt that a call should have been made against Malasinski, but should not have taken the law into his own hands. Wildcats coach Ryan Aldridge has called for a long ban for Silverthorn, which would probably be fair, although his timing could have been better.

Minutes later, Kana checked McKenzie hard into the boards by the benches. As soon as Kana made the hit, he went onto the bench, leaving McKenzie on the ice. Aldridge has said the hit was hard but fair, whilst Tigers coach Tom Watkins got ejected from the game for misconduct. Having seen the hit, I am not sure it was fair; Kana turns his back as he approaches McKenzie and seems to fractionally leave his feet and hit McKenzie high. If Silverthorn deserves a ban, so does Kana.

The game last night was the final scheduled meeting between the sides this season, although they could yet play each other in the playoffs and the Cup final; if so, I think they could be feisty games.