The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild rounded off 2016 with an impressive 0-5 league win away at Hull Jets on Saturday night.
The win sees them finish off the year in second place in the Laidler Conference table, 4 points behind leaders Blackburn Eagles and 1 point ahead of third place Sheffield Senators.
Despite the scoreline, this was far from an easy game for the travelling Widnes side. Hull had two of the league’s top scorers on their bench in Richard Haggar and Kieran Beach and Widnes had several key players missing so it is great testament to the Wild defence that they managed to keep those two at bay all game in what was a very well-polished and disciplined all round team performance.
The Wild took the lead as early as the 3rd minute taking advantage of a powerplay for a Hull interference penalty with big defenceman Andrew Turner firing in from just inside the blue line.
On 5 minutes, team captain Shaun Dippnall doubled the advantage as he flicked in an Ollie Barron in pass and, then, in the dying minutes of the period popped up again to score his second to punish another Hull penalty.
With the score at 0-3 after the first period, the game was pretty much already over and once Ollie Barron scored – from a kneeling position – less than 5 minutes into the second period, there was little more the Hull team could do to try and salvage the game. They battled on, however, and actually outshot Widnes in the second period by some 20 shots to 12, meaning that Wild netminder Greg Ruxton still had plenty to do to pick up a well-earned shut out.
The third period was all Widnes and they battered the Hull net with shots. The only goal of the period came just on 50 minutes as Andrew Turner unleashed another of his ferocious blueline slapshots to finish off the night’s scoring.
After the game, Wild player coach Ollie Barron said:
“We travelled to Hull in good spirits. The team has really come together in recent weeks with a string of good performances and with so many new players coming into the team, it was always going to take time to gel. I am happy with the squad we have at the minute and every player is buying in, for the good of the team.”
We had a number of forward players missing (Will Barron, Karl Niamatali, Danny Bullock and Chris Preston) so Pavel Vales and Bez Hughes jumped up as forwards. We started the game well, applying lots of pressure on the Jets netminder and found ourselves 3-0 up at the end of the first period.”
The second period I thought we played some really good hockey and arguably we should converted more of our chances in the second. The third we seemed to take our foot of the gas a little, but what was pleasing was for Greg to get a shutout, He faced a number of good shots and was deserving of his MVP award. The main focus was to pick up 2 vital points to keep us pushing forward.”
We now have a few weeks’ break over the Christmas period before our next game. I am hopeful Will and Karl will be back at full strength from their injuries come the New Year.”
This was the Wild’s 4th win in a row and a good way to finish of their Laidler games for 2016. They are next in competitive action in the New Year when they have back to back away games against Coventry Blaze on Saturday 7th January and northwest rivals Altrincham Aces on Saturday 14th January.
Widnes are next at home on Sunday 22nd January 2017 when the entertain Sheffield Senators at Silver Blades Widnes in a 5.30pm face off.
The Widnes Wild women’s team are in home action the week before when they play Streatham Storm in the Women’s Premier League at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday 15th January. That game also faces off at 5.30pm and admission is free.
Saturday 17th December 2016 – Laidler Conference
Hull Jets 0 – Widnes Wild 5
Period Scores: 0-3, 0-1, 0-1
Shots on Goal: Hull 30 – Widnes 46
Penalties In Minutes: Hull 14 – Widnes 6
Widnes Scoring: Shaun Dippnall 2+1, Andrew Turner 2+0, Ollie Barron 1+2, Stuart Brittle & Berwyn Hughes 0+2, Joe Gilbert, Simon Offord, Tom Ratcliffe all 0+1
Photos by Arthur Foster
Match Report by Paul Breeze (www.icehockeyreview.co.uk)