The Wild Academy U13 team away at Deeside (Photo by DMH Tyres)
The Widnes Wild Academy U13 team enjoyed a solid campaign this season with an excellent 3rd place finish in the final Division 3 North league standings – with 6 wins, 1 draw and 5 defeats from the 12 league games that they were able to play.
During the course of the campaign, the Wild only lost two games at Planet Ice Widnes, contributing to their impressive final league position. The Wild youngsters enjoyed a terrific start to the season, with two high scoring affairs. A fantastic opening day 13-2 win in Flintshire against the Deeside Dragons was then followed by an equally impressive home opener with an 11-7 victory versus Blackburn U13’s.
A tough away defeat to the Billingham Stars was then followed up by an impressive 12-0 drubbing of Deeside at Planet Ice Widnes in mid November. A tight and tense battle in Blackburn ended in a 2-2 tie game, followed by a difficult away defeat to eventual champions Manchester Storm.
The Wild were able to respond from these games in impressive fashion, however, with back to back wins at Planet Ice Widnes. These came courtesy of another solid 12-2 victory over Deeside and an exciting 5-4 triumph over the Billingham Stars.
The next game was another tough battle in Manchester, which ultimately ended in a 6-3 defeat for the Wild, their closest game with the Storm to date. However, Widnes would take what was to be their last home win of the season in the next game, with a clinical 6-2 victory over against Blackburn at Planet Ice Widnes on 1st February.
After two difficult fixtures – which both ended in defeat for the Wild against teams ahead of them in the league, 9-2 away at Billingham and 1-5 at home to Storm, the season was, unfortunately, brought to a premature end.
The Wild youngsters managed to beat all the other teams in the division this season apart from Manchester Storm and, had the season run it’s natural course, they might have picked up more wins against Blackburn and Deeside and finished in a higher league position.
As it was, they showed a vast improvement in their second season of competitive ice hockey, with a better disciplined and structured performances in all areas and a huge swing in goal difference from –89 last season +16 for this.
Aidan Lamb finished the season Wild U13’s top scorer –also topping the overall league standings with 38 points to his name (19 goals and 19 assists) across only ten games played. This impressive tally helped to play an integral part in the Wild’s great season, off the back of some fantastic performances for the team.
Following close behind his teammate in league points scoring was Jared Knowles, with 29 points across eleven games (17 goals and 12 assists). He played an excellent, consistent campaign and played a big part in the Wild’s eventual finishing position.
Netminder Harry Bird completed his season with a fantastic 84.76% save percentage across eleven games – with a shut-out from the 12-0 win over Deeside.
He finished as the the league’s top netminder and this is even more impressive, considering he also “played up” an age group as the main netinder for the Wild U15’s team as well – often playing for both teams on the same day!
Report by Robert Martin