Teams from the Widnes Wild Junior Academy played four games over with weekend, with by far the best result being the Under 15s 10 – 2 home victory over Blackburn Under 15s at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Under 15s had lost their local “M56 derby” match against Deeside Under 15s 6 – 10 at home on Saturday, so this was great boost in their ongoing battle for second place in the league table with Solihull U15s.
Also on Saturday, the Academy Under 11s travelled the length of the M62 to take on Kingston Under 11s in Hull – a game that they lost 8 – 0. The other Wild Academy game of the weekend saw the Academy Under 13s lose 1- 5 at home to league leaders Manchester Storm Under 13s on Sunday.
Sunday 15th March: Widnes Wild U15 10 – Blackburn U15 2 (U15 North Div 3)
The Widnes Wild Academy U15’s team secured a terrific win in a thrilling encounter with the Blackburn U15’s team at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
In a high scoring match, it was the Wild’s ability to inflict damage on the power play and while they were playing short-handed that proved to be the real difference maker.
The Wild youngsters started the match as they meant to go on, with two early chances that required the Blackburn net minder to make some good saves. However, it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a goal off the rush after getting in behind the Wild’s defence.
Widnes looked for a quick reply, but some good defending by Blackburn kept them at bay for the moment. A chance looked to have come along for the Wild when a power play opportunity was presented to them. The visitors were able to keep them at arm’s length however and scored a short-handed goal to double their advantage, which was largely against the run of play. Widnes were able to find the breakthrough they deserved shortly before the end of the first period with a great finish by team captain Liam Eaton after being assisted by Adam Case, to make the score 1-2 to Blackburn.
The second period could not have started better for the Wild, levelling the score with an excellent early goal from Adam Case, his first in what would turn out to be a fantastic evening for the player in front of goal.
Widnes maintained excellent puck possession and a short-handed goal for the Wild, their first of the evening and Adam Case’s second, gave them the lead in the match for the first time. During a brief period of 4 on 4, Widnes again found the net with another excellent finish from Adam Case to cap off his hat trick. Seconds later, a rocket of a shot from William Calcutt beat the Blackburn net minder to give the Wild a comfortable 5-2 advantage.
The visitors were then given another power play opportunity, but Widnes were able to carve out two more fantastic short-handed goals; one off the stick of Liam Eaton for his second of the game and Adam Case again, showing his quality with his fourth of the night, to make it a 7-2 game to the Wild.
Blackburn started the third period looking for a way back into the game, but the Widnes youngsters were able to limit them to few clear cut opportunities. Adam Case’s fifth of the night with another power play goal stretched the lead even further, while an outstanding finish from assistant captain Jake Meehan, while also on the power play, capped off a fine all round performance from him.
The Wild were able to add a tenth goal late on courtesy of CH, to make the score 10-2 and round off an excellent all round performance defensively and offensively for the U15 team.
The result moves Widnes up to second place in the league table ahead of their next game away to Blackburn U15’s.
The MVPs for the game were: No 22 for the Wild – Jake Meehan and No 22 for Blackburn U15’s.
Match Report by Robert Martin
Sunday 15th March: Widnes Wild U13 1 – Manchester Storm U13 II 5 (EIHA Junior Leagues U13 North 3)
The Widnes Wild Academy U13 team unfortunately fell to a 1-5 defeat against a strong Manchester U13 team at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday. The Wild youngsters gave a great account of themselves and played some good hockey, but Manchester ultimately took control of the game.
In an even first period, it was Widnes who made the brighter start, with both teams able to create decent attacking opportunities. It was Manchester who took the lead midway through the first period, after a spell of pressure in the attacking zone.
The Wild looked for an immediate reply and almost found it when a shot hit the crossbar a couple of minutes later. Shortly before the period ended Manchester were able to double their lead after a shot from close range was put away, giving the visitors a 0-2 advantage at the end of the period.
Widnes started the second period in terrific fashion, with a number of chances created on the Storm goal. Their persistence was rewarded when the Wild’s Nathan Wilson found the net with an excellent finish after being set up by Luke Alston, to cut Manchester’s advantage in half. However, the Storm U13’s found a quick response with a goal of their own a few minutes later, to give them a 1-3 lead; a goal that was largely against the run of play in the period.
Widnes set out to narrow the deficit in the third period, with periods of good puck possession. A power play for Manchester and then the Wild both resulted in no goals scored after some good penalty killing from both teams.
The game continued to open up with the two goalies busy at both ends. Storm then struck again on the power play, 6 minutes from full time and then added another goal to give the win to Manchester.
The result means Widnes remain in third place in the table ahead of their next game away to Blackburn U13 with 2 games left to play.
The MVPs for the game were: No 30 for the Wild – Nathan Wilson and No 13 for Manchester Storm.
Match Report by Robert Martin.