The Widnes Wild women’s team suffered defeat in their first Women’s Premier League game of the season as they lost out 3-5 to a well organised Nottingham Vipers side on Sunday at Silver Blades Widnes.
The game saw the welcome return to the team of Samantha Boyle – who did not play last season – as well as the senior Women’s debut of Wild junior player and GB under-16 inline hockey international Katie Fairclough, who made a very good impression in what was her first ever competitive game on ice.
After a fairly even start, the Vipers took the lead with two strikes within 80 seconds of each other to lead 0-2 after just 10 minutes of the game.
The Wild women managed to hit back with a well-taken goal of their own some 40 seconds later as Vanessa Crickmore-Clarke fired in a furious shot from the blue-line which was parried by the Nottingham netminder. Emma Pearson picked up the rebound and duly slotted the puck into the net to pull the Wild back into contention.
The Wild women upped the pressure on the Vipers’ goal in search of an equaliser but were caught out at the back as the visitors scored again on 16 minutes to take a 1-3 lead into the first break.
The Wild came out the stronger for the second period, visibly upping their work-rate and out-shooting the visitors 21 to 19. They were rewarded with a goal from Amanda Williams after 28 minutes, which, once again, brought them to within touching distance of the Vipers. However, Sav Sumner then picked up a roughing penalty to leave the home side a player short and, shortly afterwards, Sal Roberts was called for tripping, meaning that the Wild would have to defend 3 on 5 for over a minute of play.
Netminder Stephanie Drinkwater made some incredible saves during this period and her heroics certainly helped keep the Wild in contention.
They killed off the Sumner penalty and, during a clumsy player change by the Vipers, Leen de Decker stole the puck and raced down the ice to fire in an amazing short handed goal to put Widnes back on level terms.
The Wild were back to full strength 40 seconds later and immediately looked to fire themselves into the lead for the first time in the game but, once again, they were caught out by a quick Nottingham break-away and the Vipers scored again to make it 3-4 at the end of the second period.
A 5th goal for the visitors within 90 seconds of the start of the third period effectively killed the game off and, while they had numerous chances, the Wild attack were unable to penetrate the stubborn Nottingham defence.
After the game, coach Owen Tennant said:
“The game against Nottingham showed a lot of strengths but also weaknesses in our game. The positive of this is that all the weaknesses shown can be worked on and we can make sure to improve before our next game. The girls scored three good goals, working plays we had discussed and used in training so I was especially pleased with that. The overall performance however did not display the quality we have within the team. We are focusing on the positives and will be addressing the downfalls during training over the next few weeks.”
The Wild women play their second game of the new Women’s Premier League season on Sunday 5th November at Silver Blades Widnes – 5.30pm face off.
Sunday 15th October 2017 – Women’s Premier League
Widnes Wild Women’s Team 3 – Nottingham Vipers 5
Period Scores: 1-3, 2-1, 0-1
Shots on Goal: Widnes 47- Nottingham 53 (10-19, 21-19, 16-15)
Penalties in Minutes: Widnes 4 – Nottingham 4
Widnes Scoring: Leen de Decker 1+1, Emma Pearson & Amanda Williams both 1+0, Sarah Roberts 0+1
Match Officials: Ray Ormes & Lee Twell
Match report by Paul Breeze (www.icehockeyreview.co.uk)
Photos by Geoff White (www.gw-images.com)
Photo top: Wild’s Leen de Decker scores the shorthanded equaliser