The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild consolidated their position at the top of the Laidler Division table and extended their winning run to 9 games in a row with a closely fought 3-1 win over Hull Jets at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
This was a very entertaining game to watch between two very well- matched teams and was played in good spirit throughout with very few penalties incurred by either side.
The first period was goal-less and, although Hull narrowly out-shot the Wild by 8 to 7, the game was really too close to call.
Widnes upped the pressure on the Hull defence in the second period and were rewarded with goals from Scott Cooper on 24 minutes – his first for the club since joining in the summer – and from Jakub Hajek on 30 minutes.
Hull had their chances as well but were kept at bay by Matt Croyle in the Wild goal, while Dean Bowater at the other end in the Jets net also made numerous dramatic saves to keep his side in the game.
The score remained 2-0 at the second break and the third period was as closely contested as the first had been with very little to choose between the two teams.
Hajek’s second goal of the game on 44 minutes gave the Wild a slightly more comfortable 3- goal cushion but the Jets kept on battling and were rewarded with a goal of their own on 56 minutes.
This made the last few minutes of the game a little tenser than they might otherwise have been and, with 1 minute to left play, the Hull team took off their netminder in favour of an extra attacker in an attempt to force a late goal.
The tactic didn’t pay off, however, and the Wild were unable to score in the resulting empty net and the game finished at 3-1 to Widnes.
The Wild remain top of the Laidler Division table with 24 points from 14 games. Sheffield Senators are second with 21 points from 13 games and Hull are third with 19 points from 15 games.
After the match, Wild player coach Ollie Barron said:
“This was a big two points for the team. An even first period saw both teams with chances and I felt after the first, where we did play some nice hockey, we just had to continue to work hard and the goals would come – and we did exactly that.”
“Our second period was much better in terms of chances, every player played their part last night, and I thought our third line – who have been strong for the last run of games – did a great job.”
“It was great to see Coops get his first goal for the Wild and Dan Fay, with yet another man of the match performance, played another great game for us.”
“We have a vital run of fixtures before our Christmas break, so this week’s practice will be focused on Hull away on Saturday and the visit of Blaze NIHL on Sunday.”
The Wild are away to Hull Jets this Saturday 1st December and then at home to Coventry NIHL Blaze at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday – 5.30pm face off.
The home game against Coventry will see the club’s annual “Teddy Toss” event where supporters are invited to bring along soft toys which will be thrown onto the ice at a specific point in the game and gathered up to be given to sick children who will be in hospital over the Christmas period, and other worthy causes.
Because they will come into contact with the ice surface (which is wet…), fans are asked to make sure that their soft toys are wrapped up in plastic so that they don’t get damaged, otherwise they can’t be used. For health and safety reasons, toys must be new but, last year, any toys that were damaged or unsuitable to be given to children were taken to the dogs’ home – so nothing went to waste!
The YKK- sponsored Widnes Wild are at home to the Coventry NIHL Blaze this Sunday at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45.
Sunday 25th November 2018 – Laidler Division
Widnes Wild 3 – Hull Jets 1
Period Scores: 0-0, 2-0, 1-1
Shots on Goal: Widnes 32 – Hull 27 (7-8, 19-12, 6-7)
Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 10 – Hull 4
Widnes Scoring: Jakub Hajek 2+0, Scott Cooper 1+0, Ken Armstrong, Lee Kemp, Stuart Brittle & Mike Mawer all 0+1
Match Officials: Juris Susters – Referee, Faye Andrews – Linesman, Simon Clark – Linesman
MVPs: Widnes: Daniel Fay / Jets: Boris Giba