On Sunday, Wild met a rampant Solihull Barons – fresh from a big win in Hull. The visitors paraded their overseas stars Thomas Janak and Michael Rodger plus man mountain, Perry Doyle in defence.
From the outset, Solihull were playing with an intensity and speed unmatched by any of Wilds’ previous opponents this season. Excellent skating alongside crisp accurate passing meant that Wild were on the backfoot from the outset. For the first ten minutes they worked hard to restrict their opponents with Steve Gilmartin in regular action saving a series of snap shots. By the interval Barons were three goal ahead. Widnes’s big young defenceman Troy Evans, was forced to retire with a groin injury adding to the growing list of unavailable players. Solihull opened up the Wild defence repeatedly to fire in seven unanswered goals – from six different scorers !
Remarkably the final period saw some improvement of fortunes for Wild, with some effective attacks based on searching centre ice passes.Bobby Caunce reduced the arrears in the 55th minute from a Filip Supa pass and the outstanding Ben Brown got a second three minutes later following good work from Chris Preston and Craig Williams. As it looked like Wild might take the third period, the outstanding Barons came back with two late goals, Ben Brown took the Wild MVP for a fine attacking display against a hard hitting defence.This was a fine show from the Midlanders but a concern for The Wild coaching and management team -trying to select from an ever decreasing number of players.
Wild Head Coach, Mark Gillingham said:‘It’s been a disappointing weekend. It’s frustrating to see a weekend like this when we’re coming off the back of the result against Nottingham, because we know we can do so much better. We’ll be making some changes, and we need to see a significant improvement in our last three games before our break over Christmas.’
Wild travel to Solihull next Sunday for a return with home games against Hull and Sheffield to follow in forthcoming weeks.