Title Race Tightens After Tigers Defeat

Wild’s Dan Bracegirdle (#4) and netminder Matt Croyle foil a Tigers attack in the 2-5 home defeat against Telford on Sunday (GW Images)

(The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild’s Laidler Division title challenge took a bit of a knock as they were beaten 2-5 by fellow contenders Telford Tigers 2 at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

It was the first home league defeat for the Wild since March last year and while it’s not all completely doom and gloom, it does add a bit more spice to the title race which will now extend well into March.

The game started off at a furious pace and the Tigers team – backed by a sizeable travelling support – were quickest out of the blocks. The visitors out-shot the Wild by 15 to 10 during the first period but it took until the 14th minute for the first goal, which went to Telford on a powerplay.

Just as it looked as if the Wild were going to keep the deficit to one goal at the period break, disaster struck and, in a goal mouth incident, the match officials decided that Widnes net minder Matt Croyle had been beaten again and, after a long discussion, they awarded a second goal to the Tigers with just 23 seconds left on the clock.

A third goal for the visitors just 46 seconds into the second period – scored by former Wild import player Filip Supa – put Widnes well and truly on the back foot and they never really bounced back after that.

Stuart Brittle scored the Wild’s opening goal in the 24th minute but another goal for Telford 10 minutes later gave them a commanding 1-4 lead and, battle though they might, Widnes were unable to break through the well-organised Tigers defence.

The Wild did find themselves on the wrong end of a few penalty calls and playing for so long with fewer men on the ice and on the bench is always going to be tough. While they managed to out-shoot the Tigers in the third period and enjoyed greater spells of possession, it was not going to be Widnes’s night and Filip Supa scored a fifth goal for Telford with 13 minutes left in the game.

The Wild did have something to cheer about in the last minute of the game, however, as Stuart Brittle fired in a late goal with 31 seconds left on the clock.

The final score of 2-5 means that Telford can still finish the season on 50 points – if they win all their remaining games – and Widnes must at least get 51 to win the title as the Tigers hold sway in terms of results between the two teams should they finish level on points.

Looking back at the game, Widnes Wild player coach Ollie Barron said:

“Last night we played the Telford Tigers and all games have been close between the two sides this season.”

“It was disappointing to lose, having not lost at home in such a long time but I felt we ran into far too much penalty trouble last night, taking nothing away from Telford as they deserved their victory.”

“We have 5 games remaining and are still in a great position. We will re-group in practice this Thursday and get ready to go again, away in Altrincham on Saturday night.”

The Wild are next in action away to Altrincham Aces this Saturday 23rd February – 7.30pm face off – and then face Hull Jets the Sunday after, 3rd March, at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.

*****

The Wild Academy Under 13 team are at home to Deeside Dragons U13s this Sunday 24th February at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 4.20pm and admission is free.

Match Details:

  • Sunday 17th February 2019 – Laidler Division
  • Widnes Wild 2 – Telford Tigers2 5
  • Period Scores: 0-2, 1-2, 1-1
  • Shots on Goal: Widnes 33 – Telford 36 (10-15, 11-12, 12-9)
  • Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 57 – Telford 14
  • Widnes Scoring: Stuart Brittle 2+0, Simon Offord, Michal Novak both 0+1
  • Match Officials: Adam Hands – Referee, Wood / Walker – Linesmen
  • MVPs: Widnes – Stuart Brittle / Telford – Alexander Blake
  • Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
  • Photos by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com

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All Photos ©Gw-Images unless otherwise stated

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