So last weekend was a northern road trip for the Tigers, taking in two away games against the Sheffield Steeldogs and the Manchester Phoenix. This would be a testing weekend for the Tigers as they were up against their rivals in the league in Sheffield. Plus this would be a Steeldog's team bolstered by the big Canadian Andre Payette. Payette has proved he can play some hockey, as he did for the Phoenix last season. But he has also proved he can look after and mentor the young Brits on the squad, and, in Sheffield young British talent is something they have in abundance. Then the Tigers would come to Altrincham to play the Phoenix. Last time the two sides met in Altrincham the Tigers took it to penalty shots. This was after the Phoenix massively underestimated them. Would it happen a second time, or would the real Phoenix turn up?
Saturday, south Yorkshire, the Tigers arrived at Ice Sheffield for a big game. As I have mentioned in many a previous post, if the Tigers have real playoff aspirations these are the games they need to be winning. The Tigers task has been made tougher as they have lost a number of guys to GB duty. Including the influential Ashley Calvert. This is the guy who has come into the squad recently and lit up the score sheets. The Tigers made a promising start but, as in many sports, a missed penalty shot swung momentum. The Steeldogs had forced a 3-2 lead by the time Maslovski's had the one-on-one chance. He missed, and the momentum stayed with the Steeldogs. In the closing moments it appears cool heads were not kept on the Tigers bench, coach Tom Watkins earning himself a game misconduct penalty. Being a goal down, without their coach, and on the penalty kill, the Steeldogs were able to keep their lead and even score an empty net goal. Steeldosg taking the two points with a 6-4 victory.
Minus their GB internationals, and now minus their influential player coach, a severely depleted Tigers squad arrived in Altrincham hoping to repeat their penalty shot heroics of last time. One thing you can guarantee with the Tigers, is they will work hard for the full 60 minutes and not let their heads drop. However with the shortened bench, and the Phoenix not taking them lightly this time, it was really only a matter of time before the Phoenix started scoring and shutting the game down. With the Phoenix going 5-1 up after the first period the result was a given, it would be down to how long the Tigers could keep going, and how much Tony asked the team to ease up. In the end the Phoenix won 9-2, not a surprising result given all the factors considered. Another mention for Andrew Sharp who continued his point scoring streak with another goal sunday night. It was going to be a tough game for the Tigers but, even with a full strength side I still think the Phoenix would have won.
A tough weekend for the Tigers, and no points gained, so chalk this one off and move forward. Hopefully the GB lad's will be back and with Tom Watkins back on the ice the Tigers should be back to winning way's soon. Another big weekend for the Tigers. They have an away game to the Swindon Wildcats and a home game versus the Guildford Flames!
The Tigers currently hold a 2-1 series lead against the Wildcats, however the game they lost, was the last away trip to the link center. It is still a winnable game for the Tigers but they must keep their heads up and get a few early goals in. In their series against the Flames the Tigers are 2-1 down. However the Tigers have a win and an overtime point from the Flames, so back on their own ice, this is also a winnable game! Looking at the extremes, this coming weekend really could be an all or nothing weekend for the Tigers!
Tigers Weekend Report