Hull Jets 2 Widnes Wild 0
Semi Arctic conditions faced the team coach as the team travelled over the Pennines to meet close rivals, Hull Jets, on Sunday. As in recent weeks, player availability was limited. Ben Brown was ill with Pavel Vales, Ken Armstrong, Tom Ratcliffe, Tom Revesz and Nicole Jackson unavailable. Joe Greaves was still recovering from a recent ankle injury. A sparse crowd greeted the two teams.
The game opened at a frantic pace with Hull using the wider ice to good effect.However it was Wild who threatened first, striking the crossbar at 2.08. Dipnall and Supa combined well breaking clear at 3.30. Bobby Caunce then skated through but his low shot was well saved. Dunford and Dipnall combined well at 10.30 but made a low save to the left. The experienced Jamie Cobley was orchestrating some effective Hull attacks and at 11.54 Wild failed to clear the puck and Declan Pearson shot low to the left to open the scoring for Hull.
Despite some Wild pressure, Hull always looked dangerous on the breakaway and Ruxton had to make three sharp saves to deny the home team. Just before the end of the period Filip Supa broke clear but his low shot was well saved.
The second period opened with heavy Widnes pressure – Pollitt, Bullock, Crawshaw and Hughes all testing the Hull netminder. Hull broke clear in the 27th minute and Greg Ruxton made two fine saves. At 30.31 Lee Pollitt brought a great save from Dalby.
Jamie Cobley broke clear for Hull at 33.28 and a minute later, Bobby Caunce did the same for Widnes, his low shot being saved just inside the post. Hull went down to 4 skaters for a delaying the game minor and Hughes, Bullock, Supa and Dipnall all tested the netminder with powerful shots. In the 39th minute Hull went down to 3 skaters after minor penalties were called for abuse of an official and too many men on the ice. Dalby then made a great stop from a fierce Lee Pollitt shot and from the resulting rebound.
The third period opened with Widnes still on the powerplay and despite good forward movement a goal wasn’t forthcoming. Jamie Cobley broke through for the Jets but Greg Ruxton made a fine save. A second Hull goal came at 46.37 and there was an element of good fortune about it. A powerful shot from the left flashed wide and as it rebounded off the boards , Jordan Fisher was able to force it inside Greg Ruxton’s left hand post. After the referee called a 2 minute minor penalty against Hull, Widnes called a time out. Despite resuming on the powerplay and raining in shots on Dalby, Wild still couldnt find the net. It was Wild’s turn to be penalised, Shaun Dipnall taking two minutes for holding. Sporadic attacks on the breakaway from both sides was met with fierce resistance from two in form netminders. At 56.44 a tripping penalty was called against Tom Jackson as the big defenceman attempted to gain vital possession. Jets took advantage and controlled possession in the Widnes end.
This was a frustrating night for the Wild against one of their closest challengers. Despite ample possession and periods of numerical advantage on the powerplay, they couldn’t find a way past Jack Dalby. Not surprisingly, he took the Hull MVP for a 47 shot shut out. Greg Ruxton took the MVP for the visitors after saving 49 of 51 shots fired on him. Hopefully a stronger line up will be available for the coming weekend’s home double header against Deeside Dragons on Saturday ( 17.30) in the big local derby and against Blackburn Eagles on Sunday (18.15).