Saturday 1st February: Solihull U18s 5 – Wild Academy U18s 10 (Under 18s North Div 2)
Sunday 2nd February: Sheffield U18s 9 – Wild Academy U18s 1 (Under 18s North Div 2)
The Wild Academy Under 18s team had a rare double header “road weekend” with back-to-back away games – winning 5 – 10 away at Solihull on Saturday and then losing 1 – 9 away to league leaders Sheffield Steel City Under 18s on Sunday.
This is the first season that the Wild have iced an Under 18s team in the league and, while it has been quite a steep learning curve, this weekend’s results demonstrate how much progress the players have made in a very short space of time. In their very first ever home game they lost 5 – 10 to Solihull and their first meeting with Steel City resulted in a 3 – 14 home defeat, so it is heartening to see just how far this fledgling team has come since then.
In the game at Solihull on Saturday, Widnes opened the scoring after just 21 seconds with an unassisted goal from Tristan Grimshaw. Three more first period goals followed – from Luke Mullarkey, Grimshaw again and team captain Sam Anderson – to lead 0 – 4 at the first period break.
The second period started pretty much the same as the first, with a Widnes goal just 29 seconds into the period from Sam Anderson. A power play goal from Grimshaw saw the Wild 6 – 0 ahead before Solihull finally managed to find the back of the net themselves. Two quick-fire goals within 60 seconds of each other brought the hosts back into the game but these were cancelled out with further strikes from Anderson and Grimshaw, and a third Solihull goal in between did little to stem the flow.
Widnes had a commanding 3 – 8 lead at the second period break and Grimshaw’s fifth goal of the game just 36 seconds from the re-start put the result well beyond the reach of Solihull. The Barons did score twice more but a fourth goal of the game from Sam Anderson on 54 minutes demonstrated the Widnes superiority in this game and the Wild youngsters were able to celebrate their third league win of the season.
The away game on Sunday against Sheffield Steel City Under 18s was a different proposition altogether and the Wild youngsters were up against it from the very start. They were outshot by 2 to 1 over the course of the game by a very strong, experienced team.
Sheffield took the lead on four minutes and were 5 – 0 up at the end of the first period. They added two second-period goals before Widnes scored their only goal of the game in the 50th minute from Captain Sam Anderson.
Two quick-fire short handed goals with five minutes left in the game rounded off the scoring and, while any defeat is disappointing, the Wild Under 18s can be pleased overall with their weekend performance.
The Widnes Under 18s remain in fifth place in the U18s Division Two league table after the weekend’s match results and they are next in action on Saturday 15th February when they travel to the Lace City to take on Nottingham Under 18s – face off 5.30 p.m.
Saturday 1st February: Wild Academy U13s 6 – Blackburn U13s 2 (Under 13s Nth Div 3)
Saturday 1st February: Wild Academy U11s 1 – Whitley Bay U11s 9 (Under 11s Nth)
The Wild Academy Under 13s team beat Blackburn Under 13s 6 – 2 at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.
Aidan Lamb opened the scoring for Widnes on four minutes and the score remained 1 – 0 at the first period break. Blackburn equalised on 20 minutes but then four unanswered goals – two from Nick Highcock and one each for Jared Knowles and Porter Harrop, who was making his first appearance for Widnes.
With the score standing at 5 – 1 at the second period break, things were looking good for the Wild youngsters but there was still plenty of work to do. Aidan Lamb scored the Wild’s sixth goal three minutes into the third period and a consolation goal for Blackburn three minutes later rounded off the scoring for the game.
Harry Bird put in yet another solid performance in goal for the Wild, turning away all but two of the 16 shots that he faced.
Earlier the same evening, the Wild Under 11s team took on the Whitley Bay Under 11s for the second weekend in a row.
The score ended up the same as the previous week with a 1 – 9 victory for the visitors and Caleb Eddleston again scoring the Wild’s only goal.
Eddleston is the Wild Under 11s top scorer in his first season of competitive ice hockey, with three goals so far this season.
The Academy Under 11s are away at Bradford on Saturday 8th February – 4.10 p.m. face off.