Widnes Wild Junior Academy glided into Sheffield last weekend to secure many victories, the youngsters won 6 games out of 6, to lift the Group D Winners trophy.
The Wild juniors were invited to a Development tournament in Sheffield on Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th of July 2015. According to fixtures, the Wild kids played group games on both days with the opportunity of a semi-final and a final if successful.
The first game entailed a face-off with other junior hockey players from Peterborough. The young guns prevailed as 6-0 winners, giving them their first 3 points of the weekend. Next opponents were Sheffield D, a very new team who didn’t quit their efforts throughout the weekend. The Wild though, were too strong for Sheffield, comfortably winning 16-2. Impressive stuff from such young kids. Two games over and full points attained, Widnes Wild Juniors began what was to be a very successful and memorable weekend of hockey.
Sunday would prove much more difficult for the ice stars of the future as they would complete the group stages with two more wins, but the trophy didn’t come that easy. The first match on Sunday saw the Wild juniors face a formidable and highly skilled team from Swindon. Wilds opponents managed to come back from a 5-1 deficit to level the match up at 5-5 with 2 minutes left to go in the game. This didn’t deter the talented Wild side, who maintained their winning record with a goal in the dying minutes to win 6-5. Three games in and a fantastic winning streak, the junior ice hockey stars relaxed and regrouped before taking on a very stubborn Milton Keynes team who played a terrific defensive game. Luckily, the Wild managed to sneak 3 goals past the brilliant goaltending of 7 year old Louie Howard (who would go on to win All Star goalie of the tournament), however two goals were disallowed. Their win would quickly put any disallowed goals to the back of their minds as they raced through completing the group stage unbeaten with a fine 1-0 score over Milton Keynes. .
Next, came a repeat of the Wilds last group game, MK in the semi-finals. The Wild got off to a great start scoring two quick goals but MK charged back to score, making it a tense final few minutes. The Wild eventually skated out to the middle of the ice with a 3-1 win and moved rapidly into the final.
In the last game of the weekend and with an unbeaten record, Widnes Wild Juniors prepared themselves for the ultimate trial which would see them face Swindon. The commitment and dedication of the Widnes Wild juniors was apparent throughout each game, however even more so for the final. Having travelled to Sheffield with only a minimum number of players, they faced off with other ice rinks that had entered three teams into the tournament. Such a team was the Wild’s final contenders from Swindon. Hard work payed off and the Wild proved too strong, running out as 7-0 winners and becoming champions of Group D in the development category of the Sheffield tournament.
Scott McKenzie Widnes Wild Head Coach had this to say:
‘’It was a great weekend for kids across the country but in particular the juniors of the Widnes Wild Academy. Not only did they win the tournament but they grew closer together as friends and learnt that although it is great to win, there is always a loser and to win with pride but also with graciousness.
Big thank you to the organisers of the tournament for having Widnes involved in the tournament. The kids (and parents/coaches) thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and look forward to many more in the not so distant future’’.
C.Preston, A.Madew, F.Charles, J.Meehan, K.Hathaway, J.Shepard, J.Evans, N.Wilson, A.Case, L.Jackson, C.Nolan
C.Preston, N.Spurr, P.Jackson