Despite fears the game would be cancelled due to the Deeside rink being unsafe, the Wild headed into the Dragons Lair hoping for their third consecutive win this season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
Wild welcomed back Pavel Vales and Ken Armstrong as well as seeing Davis Swanston making his Wild debut. The game started fast and furious and in the opening minutes of the first period it was very end to end with the home side pressurising Wild’s net minder Greg Ruxton into making the first save of the game.
George Crawshaw quickly responded and it certainly didn’t take long for the first penalty as Geoff Wigglesworth was sent to take a seat for high sticking. Dragons made the most of the power play forcing Greg Ruxton into making a series of vital saves however James Parsons sneakily put the puck past Ruxton giving the Dragons an early lead.
Wild tried to throughout the period to equalise but their efforts were matched by Deeside’s strong defence and despite a consistent team effort to equalise going into the break they were unable to put the pass past Cox in goal and went into the second a goal behind.
Going into the second period Widnes took advantage of an early powerplay and equalised thanks to Michal Fico. The game was then temporality halted whilst Lee Kemp dropped the gloves to take on Owen Bennett. The Dragons then flooded the Wild net with shot after shot showing why he’s the best net minder in the league Ruxton kept every single one out which lead to the team going into the final period with one goal each.
The opening five minutes of the third saw Deeside’s star player Adrian Palak put Dragons ahead with a low shot that a screened Ruxton was unable to see. Unfazed by the Dragons breath, Scott Mckenzie showed why he is the top goal scorer in the league. Breaking the sound barrier, Crawshaw worked the wing as he went through two Deeside defencemen then made the smart move to pass to McKenzie who completed the staggering raid with an accurate shot.
What followed was nail biting end to end hockey that could have gone either way with the home team choosing to get physical with Ruxton at every opportunity. With all derbies big hits are expected and minimised this by playing their brand of fast, intelligent hockey
As Dragons and Wild both tried desperately to score their third goal, the Wild saw fit to call a time out with four minutes left. Dragons then got their third goal as captain Marc Lovell found a way through the crowd to the net. An intense last 30 seconds followed with a however the Wild just couldn’t find a way to score and return to Widnes without a point.
Reported by Jess Cowie