Widnes’ Preston Gennoe (#53) puts pressure on the Milton Keynes goal in the Wild Ladies’ last home game of the season on Sunday (Photo by Brian Noble – MK Falcons)
Sunday 8th May: Widnes Wild Ladies 2 – Milton Keynes Falcons 14
The Widnes Wild Ladies team put in a stirring performance in their last Women’s Premier League home game of the season but it ultimately wasn’t enough to prevent them slumping to a 2-14 defeat at the hands of the Milton Keynes Falcons at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
It has been a difficult season for the Wild women, having been promoted to the higher division after previously winning the Division 1 North title and their new look – and largely youthful – team has regularly found themselves up against long established WPL teams, with some squads packed with players with Elite League experience.
The game on Sunday started well for Widnes and they matched the visitors blow for blow in the early stages.
Milton Keynes scored the first goal in the 5th minute but Widnes looked to have equalised shortly afterwards but were not quite able to force the puck over the goal line. Had that goal gone in, things might have been a lot different but, instead, the Falcons struck back and two quick fire goals just 30 seconds apart around the 7 minute mark to give them a commanding early lead.
The Wild women kept plugging away but their efforts to push forward left them exposed at the back and they were susceptible to breakaways and long shots. Three more unanswered goals for the Falcons saw them leading 0-6 at the end of the first period, leaving Widnes with a lot of catching up to do.
The home side had a much better second period, keeping the number of shots down on embattled netminder Stephanie Drinkwater while putting more pressure on the Falcons’ defence and goal. Two more Milton Keynes goals followed but then Widnes had their brief period of domination.
A superb strike from season top scorer Preston Gennoe gave the Wild women their opening goal of the game on 34 minutes and captain Leen de Decker made it 2 for Widnes just 30 seconds later.
This got the crowd on their feet and, despite the score standing at 2-8, there were still hopes of a Widnes comeback at this point as the Milton Keynes team had a very short bench and were quite likely to tire in the latter stages.
The home team pushed forward again in the hope of further reducing the deficit but, despite creating numerous chances in front of goal, were unable to make any of them count and it remained a 2-2 period.
A superhuman effort by the numerically challenged Falcons saw them edge further ahead in the third period with a 9th goal on 44 minutes and then a 10th 5 minutes after that. Widnes heads did not drop at any point and the team continued to battle until the final buzzer.
4 more unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes gave the final score a slightly more one-sided look than the game deserved but the Wild Ladies can still be pleased with what they have achieved this season.
The Winifred Mabel Letts memorial MVP awards sponsored by Poet In Residence Lucy London went to Samantha Ruff for Milton Keynes and Vanessa Crickmore-Clarke for Widnes, and were presented by match volunteer Rhianna Holt.
The Wild Ladies have two more away games still to play to round off their WPL season. They are away to Milton Keynes this Sunday 15th May – 6.30 pm face off – and then travel to Slough to face the Firebees in Slough the Sunday after.