The RTL-sponsored Widnes Wild ice hockey team retained their Laidler Division Play Off title after a sensational 6-3 win in the final against league champions Sutton Sting at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
It was the first time that the prestigious play off weekend had been staged in Widnes and the top four teams in the division played out two semi-finals on the Saturday with the two winners meeting on the Sunday.
The Wild had to come from behind in their semi-final game against the Hull Jets, trailing 2-5 at the mid-way point of the game before fighting back to draw 5-5 at the end of the third period and forcing the game into overtime.
The extra 5 minutes of play produced no “golden goal” winner so the tie went to a penalty shoot-out – the first one ever seen at Planet Ice Widnes. The score was tied at two penalties each after three attempts and it actually took 4 more rounds of “sudden death” shots – due to the inspired shot-stopping skills of both Wild’s Matt Croyle and Hull’s Dean Bowater – before the two teams could be separated, with the Wild’s Shaun Dippnall firing in the winning penalty much to the delight and relief of team-mates and fans alike.
The other semi-final saw Sutton Sting beat Telford Tigers 4-3 to set up a champions v runners up battle for the coveted play off title.
In the final on the Sunday, the Wild got off to a good start – after a very tense opening phase – with goals from Danny Bullock and Nick Manning to take a 0-2 lead into the first break. However, they were pegged back with two quick strikes by Sutton early in the second period – on 22 and 25 minutes – but a well-taken second goal of the game for Manning re-established the Widnes lead some 90 seconds later.
There was no more scoring in the second period but Sutton looked increasingly threatening and, had they not incurred penalties at crucial moments, might have made more of their chances.
A 4th goal for Widnes just 90 seconds into the third period courtesy of Andrew Turner gave the Wild a bit of breathing space but the Sutton attack continued and they scored on 52 minutes to narrow the gap once again to a single goal and set up a fascinating last few minutes.
The Wild defended furiously in this closing phase and managed to keep the Sutton offence at bay. A goal by Stuart Brittle with just 3 minutes left to play pretty much settled the game and the win was made certain, after the Sting had pulled their netminder in favour of an extra attacking player, with an “empty net goal” by hat-trick man Nick Manning in the dying seconds.
The Play Off title win sees the Wild take silverware for the second year in a row – having won the same trophy last year in the tournament played in Sheffield – and end the season on a high note, having also finished runners up in the Laidler Division for the third year in succession.
The hockey spotlight now passes to the Widnes–based Riverside Raiders team who are competing in the 6-team Summer Classic Cup tournament and who, coincidentally, also won their play off title last season. They are away to the Wyre Seagulls next Saturday 21st April at Blackburn Arena and then play the Deeside-based Flintshire Phantoms at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday 6th May – 4.30pm face off.
The next ice hockey at Planet Ice Widnes sees the Mayhem sledge team play their first game of the 2018 British Para Ice Hockey League season against last season’s champions Kingston Kestrels this Sunday 22nd April. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.
The Widnes Wild women’s team had a disappointing trip to Buckinghamshire where they were shut out 8-0 by the Milton Keynes Falcons in their penultimate game of the Women’s Premier League season. Their one remaining game is away to the title-chasing Chelmsford Cobras on 6th May.
A minute’s silence was held before each semi-final game on Saturday in memory of the casualties from the Humboldt Broncos ice hockey team’s bus crash in Canada. A Broncos team flag was signed by all the players over the weekend and raffled off. The proceeds are to be donated to the Broncos families fund.
LAIDLER DIVISION PLAY OFF WEEKEND – MATCH DETAILS:
Sunday 15th April 2018 – Laidler Division Play Off Final
Sutton Sting 3 – Widnes Wild 6
Period Scores: 0-2, 2-1, 1-3
Shots on Goal: Sutton 52 – Widnes 39 (16-10, 15-13, 21-15)
Penalties In Minutes: Sutton 10 – Widnes 14
Full Team Line Ups and Player Stats:
Sutton Sting: Bailey Templar, Simon Butterworth (0+1), Brady Doxey (0+1), Jake Anthony Apsley, Joseph Colton AC, Ryan Johnson (2PIM), James Goodman (0+1), Scott Morris Captain (0+1 2PIM), Stanislav Lascek (3+0 2PIM), Charlie Saunders, Jonathan Williamson (0+1 2PIM), Matt Jeffcock (0+1), David Pyatt AC, Will Curzon, Oliver Mitchell, Nicholas Winters NM, Warren James Gilfoyle NM, Cameron Ross Glasby, Dominic James Martin (2PIM), Elliot Meadows
Widnes Wild: Andrew Turner (1+1 4PIM), Daniel Bracegirdle, Oliver Barron (0+1), Ken Armstrong, Daniel Bullock (1+0 2PIM), Matthew Barlow, Geoff Wigglesworth (2PIM), Lee Kemp AC, Michael Gilbert, Nicholas Manning (3+0) Berwyn Hughes (2PIM), Simon Offord Captain (0+2), Stuart Brittle AC (1+1), Pavel Vales (0+1 2PIM), Thomas McDonald NM, Matthew Croyle NM, Thomas Ratcliffe, Kyle Haslam, Thomas George Jackson (2PIM), Michael Robert Mawer, Shaun Dippnall (0+2)
Match Officials: Adam Hands – Referee, Ethan Hardy – Linesman, Scott Rodger – Linesman
Saturday 14th April 2018 – Laidler Division Play Off Semi–Final 1
Sutton Sting 4 – Telford Tigers 3
Period Scores: 1-1, 2-1, 1-1
Shots on Goal: Sutton 63 – Telford 23 (17-10, 19-6, 27-7)
Penalties In Minutes: Sutton 56 – Telford 20
Full Team Line Ups and Player Stats:
Sutton Sting: Bailey Templar, Simon Butterworth (0+1), Brady Doxey, Jake Anthony Apsley, Joseph Colton AC (1+0), Ryan Johnson (0+1), James Goodman (0+1 12PIM), Jake Howis, Scott Morris Captain (2+1 34PIM), Stanislav Lascek (1+2 2PIM), Charlie Saunders, Jonathan Williamson, Matt Jeffcock, David Pyatt AC (0+1 4PIM), Will Curzon, Oliver Mitchell (4PIM), Nicholas Winters NM, Warren James Gilfoyle NM, Cameron Ross Glasby, Dominic James Martin, Elliot Meadows
Telford Tigers: Karol Jets Captain (1+1), Simon Harrison, Brandon Anderton (6PIM), Callum Worthington-Evans (2PIM), Lewis James Smith, Joshua Hustwick AC, James David Callagher, Scott Venus, Callum Kurt Griffin (1+0), Connor Keyes, Edward (Ted) Thompson NM, Joseph Jason Lee Aston (0+1 4PIM), Benjamin Michael Washburn (2PIM), Daniel Thomason (1+0), Matthew Price AC, Callum Bowley (0+2 2PIM), Liam Preece (0+1), Zack Brown NM, Charlie Hammerton (2PIM), Bench (2PIM)
Match Officials: Adam Hands – Referee, Ethan Hardy – Linesman, Alice Stanley – Linesman
Saturday 14th April 2018 – Laidler Division Play Off Semi–Final 2
Widnes Wild 6 – Hull Jets 5 (Won On Penalty Shots)
Period Scores: 1-0, 2-5, 2-0, OT: 0-0, PS: 3-2
Shots on Goal: Widnes 41 – Hull 37 (12-1, 9-14, 16-13, 4-3)
Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 22 – Hull 14
Full Team Line Ups and Player Stats:
Widnes Wild: Andrew Turner, Daniel Bracegirdle, Oliver Barron (1+1), Ken Armstrong (2PIM), Daniel Bullock, Matthew Barlow (2PIM), Geoff Wigglesworth (12PIM), Lee Kemp AC (2PIM), Michael Gilbert (0+1), Nicholas Manning (1+1), Berwyn Hughes, Simon Offord – Captain, Stuart Brittle AC (1+1), Pavel Vales (0+3), Barry Sprakes NM, Matthew Croyle NM, Thomas Ratcliffe, Kyle Haslam (2PIM), Thomas Jackson, Michael Mawer, Shaun Dippnall (2+0)
Hull Jets: Dean Andrew Bowater NM, Adam Simpson, Bryn Byron Gooch, Daniel Spence, Harry Bridges, Kieran Beach (0+2), Joseph Anson, Jamie Lewis – Captain (0+1 2PIM), Gowan Beddoes (2+1 2PIM), Richard Haggar AC (1+2), Alex Foreman AC (2PIM), Tim Lyons NM, Dan Hackford (2PIM), Joel Simon Newlove, Samuel Warnock, Cameron King, Thomas Andrew Forster, Jay Robinson (1+0 6PIM), Andrew David Ward (1+1)
Match Officials: Richard Fraley – Referee, Richard Wang – Linesman, Scott Rodger – Linesman
|Regular Penalty Shoot-Out||Sudden Death Penalty Shots|
Key To Penalty Shots Table:
Hull Jets – #19 Richard Haggar, #10 Kieran Beach, #18 Gowan Beddoes
Widnes Wild – #19 Nick Manning, #93 Shaun Dippnall, #24 Stuart Brittle
Netminders: Hull – Dean Bowater, Widnes – Matt Croyle
☼= scored X=Saved