Wild netminder Phil Pearson received the Widnes MVP award for the away game at Blackburn (Photo by Geoff White)
Sunday 22nd September 2019 – NIHL Midland Cup / Blackburn Hawks 6 – YKK Widnes Wild 1
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild put in a battling performance in the NIHL Midland Cup against higher division Blackburn Hawks on Sunday 22nd September but came back from east Lancashire on the wrong end of a 6 – 1 scoreline.
Playing against a team from a division higher is always difficult, due to the fact that the gap between the leagues is acknowledged as being very wide in terms of team budgets and playing standards, and the Wild were particularly hampered this weekend by the absence of seven players through injury and other reasons.
The short-bench team that did manage the trip to Blackburn played very well and, despite being significantly out shot throughout the game, gave a very good account of themselves. It took six minutes for the Hawks to break through a stubborn Widnes defence and a second goal just two minutes later left the travelling Widnes contingent fearing the worst. However, the Wild team dug deep, defended well and the score was still 2 – 0 at the end of the first period.
A goal just three minutes into the second period edged the Hawks further ahead but then the Wild’s Shaun Dippnall fired in a goal for Widnes, which gave the visitors some hope of a fight back.
A goal from Hawks’ import Petr Valusiak just 11 seconds from the buzzer, restored the 3 goal advantage and the Hawks led 4 – 1 at the second period break. Both teams had their chances during the third period but the Hawks were able to make the most of theirs and scored 2 further goals for a final score of 6 – 1. In view of the fact that the Wild had neither of their imported players available for the game, this was a very plucky performance and many positives can be taken.
The MVP Award for Widnes went to netminder Phil Pearson, who put in a gritty and determined performance in goal and whose heroics certainly contributed to keeping the score down.
The Wild are away to Sheffield Senators this Saturday 28th September at Ice Sheffield, face off 3.30 p.m. They are then at home the following night Sunday 29th September when they entertain Nottingham Lions in the Midland Cup at Planet Ice Widnes. Face Off is at 5.30 p.m. and doors open at 4.45 p.m.