The Wild built up a 3-0 lead before being pegged back to lose 3-4 to Sheffield on Saturday. (Photo by Geoff White)
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild lost their 100% record in the NIHL North Cup competition after a dramatic last minute goal handed Sheffield Scimitars a 3-4 victory at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.
The game had started well enough for the Wild – who were missing a few players through injury and other unavailability – and, after a close opening phase, they took the lead through a Mike Mawer slapshot on 15 minutes.
Widnes extended the lead in the 25th minute with a short handed goal from Adam Barnes and looked to be cruising when the same player gave them a 3 goal cushion with 35 minutes gone on the clock.
Sheffield had battled hard but found no way through the stubborn Wild defence and past netminder Phil Pearson – and could easily have been further behind had Widnes taken more of their own chances on goal.
In keeping the Sheffield attack at bay, however, the Wild picked up a string of niggly penalties throughout the game, which left them short handed for long spells and which eventually began to take their toll.
The Scimitars eventually pulled a goal back with 3 minutes to go in the second period, setting up a nail biting last 20 minutes of play.
A powerplay goal for the visitors just 14 seconds from the restart really put the cat among the metaphorical pigeons – narrowing the deficit to just one goal – and from then on, Sheffield began to look a much better side.
The Scimitars equalised in the 55th minute – setting up an almost mirror image of the dramatic finale from a week earlier when the Wild overturned a three goal deficit to win in overtime.
Both sides battled away looking for a late winner and, just as it looked as if an extra five minutes was on the cards, Sheffield fired in the winning goal with just 46 seconds left on the clock.
Widnes pulled netminder Phil Pearson to throw on an extra attacker but it was to no avail and the game finished 3-4 to the Scimitars.
The other game on Saturday saw Blackburn Hawks win away to Nottingham Lions 6-8 to move level on points with Widnes and they then beat Sheffield 5-4 on Sunday to move clear at the top of the cup table, albeit having played a game more.
Despite the unfavourable weekend results, Widnes can still win the NIHL North Cup if they win their last two games in the competition – at home to Blackburn on Saturday and then away to Nottingham on Sunday. Other permutations are still possible, with Sheffield also taking on Nottingham on the Saturday.
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are next in action this Saturday 27th March when they take on the Blackburn Hawks at Planet Ice Widnes – 1pm face off.
No spectators are allowed into the venue to watch the game but it will be live-streamed over the internet by BASN and also covered on the Wild’s official Twitter feed. The online streaming is free to watch but the Widnes club are inviting viewers to make a donation to the Halton Haven Hospice.
- Saturday 20th March 2021 – NIHL North Cup
- YKK Widnes Wild 3 – Sheffield Scimitars 4
- Period Scores: 1-0, 2-1, 0-3
- Shots on Goal: Widnes 34 – Sheffield 38 (10-13, 13-15, 11-10)
- Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 36 – Sheffield 16
- Match Officials: Chris Wells (Referee), Scott Anstey & Thomas Horner (Linesmen)
Match Report by Paul Breeze
Photos by Geoff White