The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild put their recent losing streak behind them with a hard earned 3-3 draw away with the Aces at Silver Blades Altrincham on Sunday night. The resulting point was their first in 3 games but was not enough to stop them sliding further down the table, however, as title rivals Nottingham Lions picked up two wins over the week to move up into 4th place and push the Wild into 5th.
The game at Altrincham was always going to be a closely contested affair with the two teams currently nestled so closely in the Laidler Conference table and local pride at stake as well as points on the board. With key players such as import defenceman Pavel Vales, Karl Niamatali and Joe Gilbert unavailable and Sheldon Cassidy having stepped down for the season to concentrate on his university studies, the Wild were starting the game at a distinct disadvantage.
Strangely enough, considering the “penalty fest” that occurred in the friendly match the start of this season, this game was mostly penalty free – with most of the calls only coming in a rather tetchy last period.
The home side actually had more of the play in the opening phase of the game and outshot the Wild 15 to 12 but it was Widnes who went back to the dressing room with a slender 1-0 lead after defenceman Andrew Turner picked up a face-off clearance and fired in a rasping shot from just inside the Altrincham blueline.
The Widnes lead lasted barely 5 minutes into the second period, however, as they were caught by a breakout from the Aces while pushing up to try and increase the lead.
Widnes’ second goal of the night came just on the halfway point of the game as Will Barron and Nick Manning combined well, picking up a Chris Preston clearance, to score a sensational breakaway goal of their own to restore the lead. Once again, however they were pegged back some 6 minutes later while defending a powerplay situation and the Aces equalised again with the puck trickling past the grasp of netminder Matt Croyle.
With the score all square at 2-2 after 2 periods and the shot count similarly balanced, the game was anyone’s for the taking. Widnes pushed forward, peppering the Aces goal with shots, and their persistence paid off in the 46th minute when Will Barron scored his second goal of the night, assisted by Stuart Brittle.
Unfortunately, the Wild’s inability to make the most of their possession that has been evident in recent games reared its ugly head again at this point as the Aces equalised for the 3rd time with a 52nd minute strike from their former EPL player Jake Nurse.
The scoring ended there but the referees still had plenty to do in the game as the Aces’ Cade King got embroiled in a charging incident in the very last minute which, after a lot of fuss, eventually saw him pick up an additional “10+10+match” penalty for abusive behaviour and then a mass scuffle also broke out while the two sets of players were shaking hands after the game had actually finished.
Commenting on the game, Wild player coach Ollie Barron said:
“It was a big improvement in team effort from previous games and I was pleased with the response from all the guys. We worked hard for each other and I felt it showed all over the ice.”
Taking the lead 3 times in the game and getting pegged back was disappointing but we can work on the errors that created their goals. The Aces play a hard intense game and we knew what to expect. “
I felt we controlled large periods of the game however we need to be converting more of our chances, but I am confident in the ability of my squad.”
The Widnes Wild are at home this Sunday, 20th November, when they entertain Altrincham Aces at Silver Blades Widnes. The game faces off at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45.
13th November 2016 – Laidler Conference
Altrincham Aces 3 – Widnes Wild 3
Period Scores: 0-1, 2-1, 1-1
Shots on Goal: Aces 36 – Widnes 44
Penalties In Minutes: Aces 53 – Widnes 22
Widnes Scoring: Will Barron 2+0, Andrew Turner 1+0, Stuart Brittle 0+2, Shaun Dippnall, Chris Preston, Nick Manning all 0+1