Wild’s Shaun Dippnall fires in the match winning penalty against Hull (Photo by Hannah Walker)
Sunday 8th March: YKK Widnes Wild 5 – Hull Jets 4 (NIHL Laidler Division)
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild secured their place in the end of season play offs with a dramatic 5-4 win against league leaders Hull Jets at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The win for the Wild was their second in two days after the previous night’s victory against Telford Tigers and helps to keep alive their Laidler Division title hopes.
After a tight opening few minutes to the 1st period with both goalies having to make good saves, it was the Wild who took the lead through Daniel Fay. Hull Jets then levelled the scoring after a period of pressure via a goal from Mark Florence. Wild also had a brief 5 on 3 power play but were unable to capitalise and the score remained 1-1 at the first period break.
Early in the 2nd period, Hull once again re-took the lead through a goal from their captain Andrew Ward. Widnes immediately set about trying to level the scoring and they did so, just after the midway mark of the period, with an excellent short-handed goal from Daniel Haid, the Wild’s second short-handed goal in as many games.
However, once again Hull Jets came back with an answer, with a power play goal scored by Boris Giba after a holding penalty on Michael Clancy. A few more good chances came for Wild late in the 2nd period but Hull netminder Dean Bowater made some good saves to preserve the Jets’ advantage.
Widnes started the 3rd period in terrific fashion, with two goals in the space of a minute – from Jakub Hajek to level the score and then another great finish from captain Danny Bullock to take the lead. The Wild looked comfortable with puck possession and were able to carve out a number of shots on goal.
A dramatic moment then came along when the Wild were awarded a penalty shot after a tripping penalty on Hull’s Jay Robinson, which was expertly put away by Shaun Dippnall, doubling the Widnes advantage.
In the last few minutes of the match, Hull pulled Dean Bowater whilst on the power play and a 6 on 4 goal was scored by Dan Hackford for the Jets to narrow the lead to 5-4. This made for a tense last minute as Bowater again rushed to the bench for the extra man, but the Wild were able to keep the lead intact and score an important victory against a determined Hull team.
The MVP Awards were presented by Widnes Wild’s Match Night Co-ordinator, Vince Bullock, and went to Jamie Cobley for Hull and netminder Phil Pearson for Widnes.
The Wild are next in action this Sunday 15th March when they travel to take on local rivals Deeside Dragons – 5.45 pm face off. They play Telford Tigers II away on Saturday 21st March and are next at home the day after when they play Blackburn Hawks II at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30 pm face off.