The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild gave their Laidler Division title chances a huge boost with a 3-2 win over second placed Sheffield Senators at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
Following on from their 2-3 win away at Coventry on Saturday night, the four point weekend sees the Wild 12 points clear at the top of the league table with 10 games left to play in their regular season, although the chasing pack do have games in hand over the league leaders.
Similar to the previous night’s match away at Coventry, this was another very close game and the result was in question until the very dying seconds. After a very even opening phase, the Wild took the lead in the 14th minute with a goal from Czech import player Michal Novak.
The score remained 1-0 at the first period break but Widnes doubled their lead with a goal from Danny Bullock 5 minutes after the restart and it began to look as if they might start to pull away at that stage.
However, the Wild were soon on the back foot as they got into penalty trouble and had to play shorthanded 3 against 5 for almost two minutes. The defence held out and Widnes netminder Matt Croyle made some remarkable saves to keep the Senators’ powerplay at bay.
Just as they had weathered that particular storm, however, the Wild were rocked by two quick fire goals within 90 seconds of each other that put Sheffield right back into the game.
Luckily, the end of the period came just at the right time to interrupt the Sheffield momentum and the Wild were able to regroup in the changing room ready for the third period.
The third period was nail-bitingly close and both sides had opportunities to take the lead. The breakthrough came in the 48th minute when the Wild’s Shaun Dippnall fired in the third goal for the home side giving them what would turn out to be a winning advantage.
The rest of the game was played out goal-less but Sheffield called a time-out with 34 seconds left to play to discuss removing their netminder in favour of another attacker.
The tactic did not pay off and the Wild notched up their 17th win in a row and widened the gap between themselves and the second place Senators at the top of the league table.
Looking back at the weekend, Widnes Wild player coach Ollie Barron said: “This was a great weekend for the Wild with two very tough games. On Saturday we travelled to Coventry for a late face-off game. The Blaze had been in good form recently beating Sheffield twice and, except for the previous away game when we won 8-0, Coventry have pushed us hard in all our games against them. I thought we played a well-disciplined road game, coming home with the vital 2 points, with each player playing their part.”
“On Sunday we welcomed second placed Sheffield and we had most of the play, out-shooting them and taking a 2-0 lead. Two errors allowed Sheffield back into the game and, going into the third, we had to dig deep to find the result, which is exactly what we did.” “We now have a weekend off with no games, but will work hard in training to prepare for our next game which is a trip to Telford and then welcoming Blackburn Hawks 2 to Widnes.”
The Wild are without a game next weekend and are back in action on Saturday 26th January when they travel to Telford to take on the Tigers 2 team. Widnes are next at home the night after – on Sunday 27th January – when they entertain the Blackburn Hawks development team at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45.
Widnes Wild Women’s Team:
The Widnes Wild women’s team take centre stage this Sunday 20th January when they take on the Nottingham Vipers in the Women’s Premier League at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.
Wild Academy Junior News
The Wild Academy Under 15 team lost 11-0 away on Saturday to a very strong Nottingham U15 team who are top of the league with a 100% record from their games so far this season.
The Wild Under 13 team are at home this Saturday 19th January when they entertain the Nottingham Under 13 team at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 6.50pm and admission is freePeriod Scores: 1-0, 1-2, 1-