Wild Are Laidler Play Off Champions 2017

The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild won their first trophy in their 4 year history as they beat Sheffield Senators 2-1 in the Laidler Conference Play Off Final at iceSheffield on Sunday.

Widnes had qualified for the final by winning their semi-final against north-west rivals Altrincham Aces 2-0 on Saturday morning while the Senators notched up a surprise 1-3 win over league champions Blackburn Eagles in the second semi-final.

The Wild were quickest out of the blocks and put Sheffield under pressure right from the first drop of the puck. The Senators looked sluggish and had probably used up a lot of energy reserves in their game the day before and it was no great surprise when Widnes took the lead through team captain Shaun Dippnall after 11 minutes.

What was more of a surprise was that the score remained 1-0 at the first break and it was not until 23.12 on the clock that the Wild scored again – with player coach Ollie Barron picking up a rebound and firing the puck into the Sheffield net to double the Widnes advantage.

Widnes were by far the better team at this point – looking likely to score again at any moment – and it was only due to the shot-stopping heroics of Mark Hartley in the Sheffield goal that the score was kept down.

Sheffield finally managed to drag themselves back into the game with a goal by Elliott Knell after 45 minutes and the rest of the match was played on a knife edge. The Senators looked much better going forward by now and Widnes had to work hard to protect their single goal lead.

The clock ticked down without further incident and Widnes were able to celebrate the perfect end to their best ever season so far in which they have achieved their best ever league position, finishing just 2 points behind league champions Blackburn Eagles, and brought Ollie Barron a piece of silverware in his first season as a player coach.

Match Details:
Sunday 9th April 2017 – Laidler Conference Play Off Final
Widnes Wild 2 – Sheffield Senators 1 (at iceSheffield)
Period Scores: 1-0, 1-0, 0-1
Shots On Goal: Widnes 45 – Sheffield 23 (18-11, 11-8, 16-4)
Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 8 – Sheffield 8

Widnes Scoring: Shaun Dippnall 1+0, Ollie Barron 1+0, Andrew Turner, Nick Manning, Berwyn Hughes, Stuart Brittle all 0+1
Match Report by Paul Breeze (www.icehockeyreview.co.uk)
Photo by John Milton (www.eventog.uk)

*****
The Widnes based Riverside Raiders got their Puckstop Summer Classic campaign off to a winning start with a 1-5 win away to Sheffield Ice Tigers in the Steel City on Saturday night.

Goals from Anthony Hughes (2), Gez Lewis (2) and Sam Plant (1) secured the win and made it a perfect weekend all round for Widnes ice hockey.

The Riverside Raiders are in home action next Sunday 16th April when they face the Blackburn-based Wyre Seagulls in their next Summer Classic game at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is 4.30pm and admission is free.

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