The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild took a step closer to their first ever league title with a hard fought 2-6 win away at local rivals Altrincham Aces on Saturday night.
The Aces have been having a poor season by their own standards but league positions and recent form don’t always count for very much in derby games and meetings between these two sides are always feisty affairs.
The Wild took the lead after 10 minutes with a goal from player coach Ollie Barron but the Aces levelled just 3 minutes later. A goal from the Wild’s former Aces sharpshooter Jakub Hajek on 15 minutes gave Widnes a narrow 1-2 lead at the first break but Altrincham pulled level again at the half way point to keep the game on a knife edge.
Three unanswered goals in the latter stages of the second period – from Mike Mawer, Barron and then Mawer again – effectively put the game beyond the Aces’ reach and then a powerplay goal from Ross Jordan with just 5 minutes left to play in the game ensured a 2-6 victory for the Wild.
After the game, Wild player coach Ollie Barron said: “A good team performance to pick up the points. We knew it would be a tough game as the Aces always play hard against us and, regardless of league position and previous games, we knew it would be a difficult game. I think Altrincham are a lot better than their league position suggests.”
“I felt we got better as the game went on. We had some good goal scoring opportunities and were pretty tight defensively. 2 points was our objective and that’s what we got. Thanks to the great fans who travelled to Altrincham on Saturday night – you made the difference.”
“Our attention now turns to Sunday’s home game against the Hull Jets, which is another big game for us. I would also like to wish Dan Fay good luck as he travels away to Russia with the GB university team to compete at the world student games.”
The weekend results see the Wild 8 points clear at the top of the Laidler Division table with 4 games left to play. They are next in action this Sunday 3rd March when they take on the Hull Jets at Planet Ice Widnes.
Hull are currently third in the league table and, along with second place Telford Tigers, they are one of the teams who could – mathematically at least – still pip the Wild to the league title so Sunday’s game will have huge significance for both teams. The game faces at 5.30 and doors open at 4.45.
- Saturday 23rd February 2019 – NIHL North Laidler Division
- Altrincham Aces 2- Widnes Wild 6
- Period Scores: 1-2, 1-3, 0-1
- Shots on Goal: Aces 28 – Widnes 44 (11-12, 11-18, 6-14)
- Penalties In Minutes: Aces 47 – Widnes 18
- Widnes Scoring: Ollie Barron 2+1, Mike Mawer 2+0, Jakub Hajek & Ross Jordan 1+1, Mikey Gilbert & Scott Cooper 0+2, Michal Novak & Chris Gee 0+1
- Match Officials: Chris Wells – Referee, Faye Andrews & Tom Fielden – Linesmen
- MVPs: Aces – Bradley Chapman / Widnes – Daniel Fay
- Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
- Photos by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com