The Widnes Wild women’s team made a return to winning ways with a sensational 2-9 win away at Slough Phantoms in the Women’s Premier League on Sunday. It was the Wild women’s first competitive game since mid-February and even playing on the unfamiliar surface of the Slough’s new temporary ice rink – installed by operators Silver Blades as cover while the main rink is being refurbished – didn’t faze the girls who came home with their biggest win of the season so far.
Things just seemed to click for the Wild team who had not notched up a single point on their travels all season. The opening goal came in the 8th minute from Widnes’ Belgian international player Leen de Decker and this was followed up less than 2 minutes later by a strike from Katie Hills. A third goal – from Amanda Williams – gave the Wild a 0-3 lead going into the first break and they looked to be on a roll.
They had outshot their hosts by 10 to 5 in the first period and the barrage continued in the second with a massive 18 shots being fired at the net of Phantoms loanee netminder Heidi-Jane Radburn who usually plays for Oxford in the lower Division 1 South. Stephanie Drinkwater in the Widnes goal had just 6 shots to contend with over the same period, all of which were duly dealt with.
Second period goals from Hills, again, and team captain Charlene Chapman with nothing in reply from the Phantoms meant that Widnes were leading 0-5 at the second break and the third period looked to be little more than a formality.
The Slough team did manage to up their game in the final 20 minutes and outshot the Wild women 18 to 16 but, by the time their captain Amy Hadden managed to score their opening goal of the game on 48 minutes, Widnes had already extended their lead even further with a goal from Wild’s GB under-18 international Sophie Sinclair Reeks.
The Wild response was swift and the 6-goal cushion was restored less a minute after the Slough goal with a second goal of the game from Chapman and then two further strikes within 40 seconds of each other from Katie Hills and Abigail Hayes – both shorthanded while Widnes’ Emma Pearson sat out at 2 minute interference penalty – rounded off the scoring for the visitors.
A late strike by Slough’s Hadden with just 10 seconds left on the clock was the last piece of action in the game and the Wild women were able to celebrate their first away win of the season.
The result sees the Widnes team move to within 2 points of Slough who are currently occupying the fourth and final play-off place in the Women’s Premier League table. Both teams have two games left to play – Widnes’ are both away while the Phantoms’ remaining games are both at home.
If they can manage to finish in the top 4, the Wild women will qualify for the end of season play off weekend which will be held at iceSheffield on 4th and 5th June and will feature the top teams from the Women’s Premier League, Women’s Elite League, National Divisions North & South and Under 16s leagues.
Looking back at the game, team coach Owen Tennant said:
“The trip to Slough was an interesting one. We knew that the rink we would be playing on was a temporary one whilst the other one is getting refurbished, what we didn’t anticipate however was how small the rink would be. This meant that we would have to change our style of play completely as the pace of the game would be fast and intense.”
“Before the game the girls and I had a discussion about how they would need to approach the game, so all that was left for them to do was to go out and execute the plan. With a 9-2 win, I don’t think I need to say much more!”
“The girls played outstandingly and made me a very proud coach. All the training has paid off and we are confident going into the final two games of the season that we can come away with another two wins.”
The Wild women’s next game is next Sunday 7th May away at Milton Keynes Falcons, face off 6.30pm.
Sunday 30th April 2017 – Women’s Premier League
Slough Phantoms 2 – Widnes Wild Women’s Team 9
Period Scores: 0-3, 0-2, 2-4
Shots on Goal: Slough 29 – Widnes 44 (5-10, 6-18, 18-16)
Penalties in Minutes: Slough 2 – Widnes 4
Widnes Scoring: Katie Hills 3+1, Charlene Chapman 2+1, Leen de Decker 1+2, Amanda Williams 1+1, Abigail Hayes & Sophie Sinclair Reeks both 1+0, Emma Pearson 0+2, Savannah Summer & Lucy Kirkham 0+1
Match Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk