The RTL Widnes Wild picked up their second win of the weekend with a 4-1 pre-season challenge victory over local rivals Altrincham Aces at Silver Blades Widnes.
Overall, this was a rather subdued affair – at least when compared to the previous night’s game away which had seen an eye-watering 176 penalty minutes awarded – and Widnes immediately made their mark with a goal as early as the 23rd second of the game as Stuart Brittle – newly arrived from Sheffield Spartans – slotted the puck home for his second goal in successive matches.
A second goal on the night from Brittle on 12.19 had the Wild well in control with the Aces team seemingly unable to make any significant inroads past the Widnes defence. But then, disaster struck as a fairly routine clearance deflected off netminder Greg Ruxton’s stick and ended up in the back of the net. Altrincham halved the deficit and the Wild led 2-1 going into first break.
The only flare up of note in the whole game took place at the first buzzer with both sets of players rounding on each other on the way off the ice. This skirmish resulted in minor penalties for Brittle and Altrincham’s former Wild player Tom Revesz while Aces’ Joe Greaves and Widnes’ Tom Jackson both got 2+2 roughing penalties for their sins.
Prior to this incident, the game had been pretty much penalty free but the rest of game was littered with minor penalty calls for both sides and it was on a resulting powerplay that Widnes scored their 3rd goal of the game through Karl Niamatali – another new signing – on 24.38.
He added his second goal of the night – and Wild’s 4th – shortly after the start of the 3rd period at 41.28 and, while many might have expected the floodgates to open at that point, it didn’t happen – even when Widnes were subsequently presented with a 5 on 3 powerplay opportunity.
As the game drew to a close, the Aces upped their game and began to look threatening coming forward. But the Wild defence held out – initially surviving a 3 on 5 session and then another short-handed stint after Ruxton was forced to incur a tripping penalty.
On the night, the 4-1 win was thoroughly deserved and it will be interesting to see how north-west derbies between these two teams pan out once the Laidler Conference season proper gets underway.
Widnes Wild play their first EIHA Laidler Conference game of the season at home to Hull Jets next Sunday 4th September at Silver Blades Widnes – 5.30pm face off.
Photo: Karl Niamatali wearing number #77 celebrates his goal with Wild players. (Geoff White – http://www.gw-images.com ).