Widnes Wild welcomed Bradford Bulldogs for their first ever visit to the Silverblades Rink on Saturday. Wild welcomed back all their absentees from last week including Slovakian stars, Filip Supa and Pavel Vales. Nicole Jackson was unavailable due to attendance at the Great Britain training camp .
A determined Bulldogs, with a very short bench, opened in determined style, frustrating Widnes with strong defence. Wild eventually found a chink in the armour, when Chris Preston worked the puck from the corner to provide Tom Revesz with a tap in goal at 7.51. Filip Supa was next on the scoresheet. As he broke clear his opponent slipped giving the Wild top scorer a chance to fire high into the top left corner at 13.23. Good work in the corner by Bobby Caunce saw him feed Kieron Strangeway who crashed the puck beyond Jake Higham into the top corner.
The hardworking Chris Preston was next to score, firing high from a rebound at 16.22. The first period scoring was completed at 19.52 when a Strangeway sho was half stopped but crept over the line.
The second period saw a far more physical approach from Bradford. Pavel Vales skated superbly from his own goal but was foiled by netminder, Higham. The game was becoming nigglyas Bradford battled back into the game. They were unlucky when a shot ricocheted off Ruxton’s left post. Wild went further ahead when a Bobby Caunce shot bounced out to Lee Pollitt who shot home from distance at 29.47. Frustration set in and after a scuffle in front of the Bradford net, several players were sent to the bin for roughing. Within a minute, Wild went further ahead – Kieron Strangeway crashing home a hat trick goal. Another Wild goal followed within seconds, Filip Supa blasting home from distance. The eighth home goal saw a net change, young Josh Benstead replacing Ruxton. He was soon in action making vital saves to keep Bradford at bay.
Widnes started the third period in more determined mood. Numerous attacks were repelled by Higham saves but at 54.39 a patient build up allowed Pavel Vales and Tom Revesz to feed Chris Preston to follow up and flick the puck high into the net At 56.04 Tom Revesz created an opportunity for Bobby Caunce to fire high into the net. Inside a minute Shaun Dipnall had fed Filip Supa who finished expertly for an eleventh goal. At 57.09 Dipnall created another chance for Lee Pollitt to find the net. Ben Brown wrapped up the scoring at 57.37 – tapping in after Revesz had created another opening. The goal flurry during the last six minutes , gave Widnes their highest ever winning margin but against a much weakened but game Bradford team. Numerous scoring chances were spurned and they managed a clean sheet after Bradford had twice rattled the pipes. There was plenty of effort from all the home players but they will face more difficult challenges in the coming weeks. Kieron Strangeway won the MVP for a fine all round show and a rare defenceman’s hat trick.