The Wild travelled east on the M62 to face the Bradford Bulldogs treating the travelling Wild Ones to a 14 goal thriller to eradicate the bitter taste of defeat from the previous week.
The team almost had a full bench with Joshua Benstead returning to the roster with only Chris Preston and Danny Bullock missing for this fixture, however there absence didn’t hinder the teams performance because with less than 30 seconds of the puck being dropped Wild’s Scott McKenzie put the Wild on the score sheet with the first goal of the night. Bradford didn’t start slowly either and they started to celebrate a quick equaliser before discovering the referees hadn’t allowed the goal as it was ruled off-side.
Neither side let the pressure up with passionate hockey being played and, after attempts at both ends of the ice, the Wild extended their lead to 2-0 when Captain Shaun Dippnall got on on the score sheet for the Wild.
Braford successfully took their chance for their first goal when Matthew Gibson stole the puck just after the face off and he blasted it past Wild’s Greg Ruxton. Then, with ten minutes left of the first period, the Wild added another goal to their tally, when Scott McKenzie skilfully passed Bradford’s defence only to see his shot saved. Luckily the well drilled Wild were able to take advantage of the rebound as George Crawshaw, with extreme accuracy, placed the puck in the back of the net to make it 3-1 to the Wild.
Then two of the Wild defenceman teamed up for the fourth goal when Tom Jackson stole the puck from the attacking Bulldogs and passed it to Kieran Strangeway who placed it in the net. Mistakes in the Bulldogs defence then caused a string of chances for Wild but former Wild netminder Nicole Jackson, worked hard to keep the score to 4 -1.
Despite the score line Bulldogs were determined to bounce back in the second, forcing Ruxton into a string of very close saves on the goal line. The Wild responded by demonstrating their passing game with Shaun Dippnall feeding Sheldon Cassidy who then gave the puck to McKenzie to make it 5-1 to the Wild.
McKenzie then scored his third of the night, and the sixth goal for Wild, with a long distance shot to straight past Jackson’s glove and then within minutes the Wild made it seven – one, as from behind the net McKenzie passed to an open Geoff Wigglesworth who,showing his usual quick thinking, placed the puck in the back of the Bulldogs net.
At this stage there was a scuffle between Bradford’s captain Reece Cairney-Witter and Wild net-minder Greg Ruxton forcing the referees eject both players, leaving Josh Benstead to take his place in the Wilds net. Just to underline that the scuffle had no impact on the Wilds momentum Scott McKenzie scored his fourth goal of the game.
Throughout the period the Bulldogs had their chances but were unable to pierce the Wild’s blue line. Going into the final minutes of the second the Wild had a ninth goal, with Tom Jackson skating down the middle of the ice to pass to Crawshaw who then sneakily placed the puck between Nicole Jackson’s foot and the goal post.
The third period started with Joshua Benstead making the first saves of the period however the youngster couldn’t keep the bulldogs from scoring their second, and final goal, of the night, when sixteen year old Lewis Baldwin rocket home an extremely well placed long shot.
Both net-minders were kept busy for the duration of the third period, especially Bradford Bulldogs Nicole Jackson. Despite some excellent work Jackson was unable to keep the Wild barrage at bay and McKenzie was able to get the puck in the back of the net again for the Wild tenth of the night.
The eleventh goal, scored by Wigglesworth, was a very scrappy one to concede from the Bulldogs point of view, however it wasn’t one way traffic with Bradford forcing Benstead into making several valuable saves and demonstrating why he is a Wild star of the future.
The final goal of the game saw one more goal from Geoff Wigglesworth in the final minute of the game, sealing an emphatic win that didn’t reflect the hard work and team spirit showed by a youthful Bradford side .
Reported by Jess Cowie