So the list of teams visiting the Hangar this season increases following the Tigers game yesterday and I find that I’m slightly confused by all the early season hype around the Tigers and their potential. I think yesterday proved that the Tigers are a hard working team, on the fringe, who will take down a few favoured teams along the way but I don’t think they’ll be a force within the EPL.
In fact after 11 games I think the table is starting to form the pattern I predicted a couple of weeks back with Telford and Bracknell dropping back to the lower end of the pack however surprisingly Guildford and Basingstoke are also in the bottom half of the table at the moment. Much was made of the Tigers taking down Guildford earlier in the season but having now seen the Flames team I’m not sure that result was quite the benchmark people made it out to be. Flames lost some good players over the summer and there’s no doubting the quality of Huppe as his season at Manchester last year proved but Chambers as an EPL player still has a lot to prove. From the game I saw last week here when the Flames played the Jets Chambers played like a huge tug boat taking part in a power boat race.
Surprisingly Sheffield are still holding strong but probably on the back of the excellent goaltending of Ben Bowns but I think eventually they will also drop like the Bees and Tigers as you can’t aim to play a whole season at 110% as players will tire, players will pick up injuries and soon enough the natural levels will get established.
Curiously the Tigers have within their ranks an import netminder who spent all of last night sat on the bench while Declan Ryan took the job on the night. With just four imports in total now Blais can obviously dress for the all the games but in playing him this means that the Tigers can only use two other imports on the ice at any time so I guess even though he’s now one of four imports he’ll probably still see little ice time.
The bigger names within the Tigers squad have changed little from last season and it was for that reason I questioned the accuracy of the talk about the Tigers being a bigger force this season. Even after the OT win for the Jets last weekend I wanted to wait until I saw the Tigers play in person to be able to cast my opinion.
I like the Tigers organisation, it’s great that a supporters’ trust has strived for and achieved EPL hockey and they are a well run team. They Tigers aren’t the pushover that they have previously been in the EPL but I don’t think they are the forecasted regular giant killers that had been suggested either. I’m sure the solid foundations the Tigers Tracks trust are building will see the Tigers go from strength to strength.
Sadly the atmosphere at last night’s game was a little flat! The turn out was low at just around 300, of which I think 6 were travelling Tigers supporters, the other 294 Jets supporters. It’s sad that despite all the talk about the competitiveness of the league, and despite us being in top position the game could only draw a turn out of around 300. As a club I think we need to concentrate on filling up the home sections for as many games as possible, and creating the best atmosphere possible rather than the prolonged periods of silence.
This season’s Bison team are comparatively struggling with just 9 points from 12 games but they are attracting between 800-1000 supporters on average a week and there’s never a silent moment in the rink, there’s a constant buzz of excitement. The Jets are solo top spot holders with 16 points from 11 games and we’re getting around 300 with prolonged periods of silence. Saddening really when you think about it. Block C are doing their best and if we could fill up the other home blocks and they could follow the example of Block C we’d be well on our way.
On the night the Jets beat the team in front of them and I think were good for their 6 goals. Tigers put 3 past the Jets, one of which was a bit of a freak goal where the puck was heading along the goal line and took a deflection in and probably the 2 fully earned goals would be a fair reflection but even at 6-3 a win is a win.
Ryan Watt continued to do his bit for the team pumping up not just the team but the crowd also with another favourable encounter with an opposition player. Josh Bruce was the unfortunate recipient last night and although there were no big blows exchanged it’s clear to see that Bruce’s contribution was little more than taking part as Ryan dragged him around like a rag doll.
Great from a Jets viewpoint to also see Tom Carlon find his scoring touch three times with three good goals for a hat-trick performance. There are 6 players returning above a point a game at the moment for the Jets and it’s great to see that the scoring burden is shared around. Also great to see Sam Waller back in a Jets jersey last night, although it’s not as yet his own as that’s still on order, nice to see him back representing the Slough Jets. His presence in the defensive lines is good news for the Jets and as the forwards continue to score and Gregg Rockman becomes sharper and sharper every game the strengthening of the defence helps the Jets progress in the league.
After last night’s game and the results around the league the Jets now solely own the top spot in the league and will play Peterborough for the 2nd time this season at their place tonight with hope of a third successive double win weekend.