The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild consolidated their position at the top of the Laidler Division table with two wins at the weekend – winning 2-14 away at Blackburn on Saturday and then beating the Telford Tigers 2 team in a tense and close fought game at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The game at Blackburn against the Hawks 2 development team was the easier of the weekend’s two games but, despite having a short bench, the home side made things difficult and they battled on for the whole 60 minutes.
Widnes opened the scoring after 3 minutes through Czech import Jakub Hajek and, by the end of the first period, the score was 0-6 to the Wild. Five more Wild goals followed before the Hawks scored their first goal at 35.37 and by then, the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion. The Hawks kept the score down to just 1-3 in the third period – despite facing a massive 30 shots on goal in that last 20 minutes – and the game ended at 2-14 in favour of the Wild.
The game against Telford on Sunday was a much closer affair, with the “Tigers 2” having already beaten the Wild once this season, and was played at a furious pace for the whole 60 minutes.
The visitors had the most of the early exchanges but it was Widnes who scored first with a Danny Bullock goal after 12 minutes. The score remained at 1-0 at the first break and Telford equalised on 28 minutes to ratchet up the tension around the rink. A goal from the Wild’s player coach Ollie Barron just 2 minutes later nudged Widnes back in front again but the game remained on a knife edge.
The score remained at 2-1 at the second break and the third period was so close that the result could easily have gone either way.
With the score still at 2-1 with less than a minute to play, the Tigers pulled their netminder in favour of an extra attacker and put the Wild defence under immense pressure.
Widnes called a strategic “time out” with 11 seconds left on the clock to try and break down the Tigers momentum. This paid off as they were able to clear the puck out of their defensive zone and very nearly – but not quite – score a goal in the empty net at the other end.
Looking back over the two games, Widnes player coach Ollie Barron said:
“A great 4 point weekend for the Wild and two contrasting games vs the Hawks2 and Telford Tigers2.”
“On Saturday in Blackburn I was keen for us to play a hard game for 60 minutes, we played some nice hockey in parts with the scoring spread across all 3 lines.”
“On Sunday we faced a good hard working Telford side. I think it was a great advert for our division with both teams leaving everything on the ice.”
“What pleased me most was our determination as a full team and we all worked hard for each other all over the pad. Matt Croyle was fantastic in our goal, making crucial saves, and our defensive zone was much tighter – with some great penalty killing.”
“We travel to Coventry next Saturday, in what will be another tough game. Coventry have a good squad this year, so we will go back to work on Thursday in preparation for the weekend.”
The Wild are away to Coventry Blaze this Saturday 27th October – nominally for a 7.15pm face off although that time is still to be confirmed. They were then scheduled to be at home on Sunday to local rivals Deeside Dragons at Planet Ice Widnes – but that game has now been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.
For all the latest match information, supporters are advised to check the website and social media for updates before setting out.
Saturday 20th October 2018 – Laidler Division
Blackburn Hawks 2 2 – Widnes Wild 14
Sunday 21st October 2018 – Laidler Division
Widnes Wild 2 – Telford Tigers 2 1