The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild will be hoping to get back to winning ways with two games this weekend – travelling to Hull to play the Jets on Saturday before hosting the Blackburn Hawks 2 team at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Widnes team won their first three games of the new Laidler Division season but then lost 2-0 away to Telford Tigers last Saturday in a game where they out-shot their hosts and dominated for long periods without managing to hit the back of the net.
The trip along the M62 will be the first meeting between the Wild and the Jets since the dramatic play off semi final that saw Widnes battle back from behind to win on a penalty shoot out.
Hull have lost three of their five games so far this season – against Altrincham, Bradford and Sheffield – but a trip to Humberside is always tricky and they still have the same impressive attacking line up from last season including the Laidler Division’s top points scorer for the past two years, Richard Haggar.
Sunday’s opponents, the Hawks development team, have lost all five of their Laidler games of the season, letting in 58 goals and scoring just 16. In all fairness to them, the whole point of the team is not so much to win trophies as to help develop young local players by giving them more ice time and game experience than they would get if they were stuck on the fringes of the senior Hawks Moralee Division team. That being the case, the team is composed mainly of promising youngsters backed up with a few experienced heads to pull the team together.
Familiar names to look out for on Sunday will be former Wild player Joe Charlton – who played 22 games for Widnes in their debut 2013/14 season – and former Blackburn Eagles players Tom Murphy and Wesley Nixon. The Hawks 2 also have two members of the Women’s GB team in the shape of CJ Ashton and Abi Culshaw – the latter also played for the Wild women’s team in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are away to Hull on Saturday and then at home to the Blackburn Hawks 2 team this Sunday 7th October at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45.
Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
Photos by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com