The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild opened their debut Moralee Division campaign with a promising performance at home to Whitley Warriors at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday, eventually slumping to a 4-7 defeat.
The keenly anticipated game against the reigning champions – played in front of a sell-out crowd – got off to a dream start for the Wild with a goal from Keiron Furlong after just 33 seconds but the Warriors got into their stride, however and equalised on 9 minutes and then edged into the lead just 90 seconds later with a powerplay goal.
Two more goals for Whitley gave them a 1-4 lead at the first period break but Widnes were giving a good account of themselves in their first ever Moralee Division game and there was still plenty to play for.
The next goal also went to the visitors – on 24 minutes – and then a sixth goal at the half way point of the game looked as if might have put the game out of the Wild’s reach. However, heads did not drop and a shorthanded goal from Vlads Vulkanovs on 33 minutes followed up by a superb strike by player coach Richard Haggar halved the deficit and raised hopes of a Widnes fightback.
Whitley bounced back with another goal on 37 minutes to make the score 3-7 and then shut up shop for the night. Widnes looked better as the game went on and managed to outshoot the visitors by 17 to 16 in the third period but the Warriors’ defence was very stubborn and it took until the 57th minute of the game before the Wild were able to breach it again.
A second goal of the night for Vulkanovs rounded off the scoring – handing the Wild a 1-0 “win” for the period – and the game finished 4-7 to the Warriors.
The Wild are next in action this Sunday 19th September when they travel to play Nottingham Lions in the NIHL Moralee Division – 5pm face off. They then have three more away games before their next home fixture which will be on Sunday 10th October when they take on Sheffield Scimitars in the league at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.
- Sunday 12th September 2021 – NIHL Moralee Division
- YKK Widnes Wild 4 – Whitley Warriors 7
- Period Scores: 1-4, 2-3, 1-0
- Shots On Goal: Widnes 27 – Whitley 42
- Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 10 – Whitley 6
- MVPs: Widnes – Kieran Beach / Whitley – Jordan Barnes
- Match Officials: Craig William (Referee) Andy Hesselwood / Scott Anstey (Linesmen)
- Report by Paul Breeze
- Photos by Geoff White