The first thing we should address in the elephant is the room. The Wild beat the Barons 2 – 1. However it was a hollow victory given the game finished early due to significant delays caused by an injury to Barons star import, Niklas Ottosson. Video evidence has shown that the hit that caused the injury was fair and the injury was caused by the subsequent fall. The Wild wish Niklas a swift recovery and hope to see him back on the ice very soon.
The Wild were able to ice almost a full squad with only Michal Fico missing due to delays with his registration. It was clear from the minute puck dropped that the new Wild coaching team of McKenzie, Gillingham and Charles had made significant improvements to the team over the summer, with the Wild coming out very hard and fast with a clear game plan to control the game.
With 6:35 on the clock the Barons scored their only goal of the game, with a scrappy goal by Whitehouse assisted by the dangerous looking Janak. In previous encounters most Wild fans would have expected this to be the start of many goals however the general feeling around the rink was that the goal was against the run of play and that the Wild would fight their way back.
The rest of the first period was very even with the only one penalty given against the Wild’s Sheldon Cassidy for an elbow with 13:16 on the clock however the Wild penalty killing special team dealt with the penalty kill comfortably and even came close to securing a shorthanded goal.
As the game entered the second period it was clear that the Wild were confident that they controlled the game and believed they would equalise. Their calm belief was rewarded when Scott McKenzie slotted home on the only Wild power play of the game ten minutes into the power play assisted by the dependable Pavel Vales and solid Calum Ruddick.
Just eight minutes later the Wild slotted home their second goal thanks to a fantastic goal by Ken Armstrong with the assists coming from Chris’s Gee and Preston. From then on the Wild never looked like losing as they executed a clear game plan.
Going into the third period there was a clear expectation that the Wild would go on to extend their lead despite strong opposition from a determined and experienced Barons team. However with 14 minutes left on the clock both teams agreed to finish the game and move into handshakes and MVP awards.
Highlights of the game can be found here; https://youtu.be/snQyb6ueFCc with a rematch taking place tonight in Solihull in support of Rob Eley’s charity fundraiser 19for19. Featured in the rematch will be a presentation from the Wild for money raised at the game in Widnes. For more information on 19for19 please visit the twitter page @19for19.