PLAYER REACTION: Manchester Minotaurs

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After this fixture our debutants Ben Simister & Tom Ratcliffe gave their views, along with Chris Preston, Troy Evans and Steve Gilmartin.

Ben Simister, #67, Forward
I think overall it would have been a different game if we would of had a full team. We were missing 4 out of our 6 Defensive men, therefore some of us had to play D that are naturally not made for the position and unfortunately it showed in this game. Apart from that we managed to score 5 goals which is a big improvement from the last game and it shows that we have players on the team with the ability to score. so that will not be a worry for the season. Still got a few key things to work on for season but we have time to do that and i’m confident with a full squad we can give anyone in the league a good game.
The fans were fantastic. Its fans like those that will help us win games and create an atmosphere that other teams will have on their conscious when they are travelling to Widnes. Its definitely a big help for us to have fans like this.

Steve Gilmartin, #32, Netminder
I felt that Sundays game was another great advert for hockey in Widnes. I personally was pleased to get my first start for the team. The team in front of me battled hard throughout my stint in net and I think we held our own against higher league opposition. The game for me highlighted the need for us to be able to start periods strongly as I think that was when the majority of goals I conceded went in. Something me and the boys are well aware of and I think come the start of the season we will have sorted this out. The fan’s again were in great form and hope they come back and support the Wild through our first season, all the lads thought the support we had in our first two games has been class!

Chris Preston, #47, Forward
Once again the fans were brilliant, when the place is that loud it really pushes you on and all the players really appreciate the support. As for the game It was stupid mistakes that cost us, stuff that gilly has picked up on and that we will be working on to correct but the attitude amongst the team is great and were all eager to improve so we will be challenging at the top of our league this year. One thing I did notice in the game was that I got to see why gilly is so highly rated as a coach. I have played alongside him in the past but before coming to widnes I’ve had no experience with mark as a coach but he made changes during the game that made a huge difference and it felt as if we went from chasing Manchester to taking control of the game. We all felt as if we had them on the ropes and could cause a shock turning over a division 1 team. We’re going to make a massive impact on our league this year.

Tom Ratcliffe, #11, Forward
I thought Sundays game against Minotaurs went well, although we did not get the win it is still the pre-season and we have a team of players who are still binding during training and games. Minotaurs put out a very strong side to play despite having key players missing from their side and we gave them a really good game considering we haven’t been playing with each other for very long.
With Manchester being my previous club it was good to play against most of the players and I enjoyed the game thoroughly. I think there is a lot the team can learn from this game and I know Mark is going to help us focus on in coming training sessions so that we a ready for the coming season.
Scoring my first senior goal in my first game was such an experience with all the fans supporting us and making noise. It really makes a different for team knowing we have the support we do and we hope to see you all at games to come.
I’m very proud to be apart of the Wild team and I am looking forward to my season ahead as a young rookie.

Troy Evans, #58, Defence
Personally, I don’t think the game went that bad, I mean there was errors but there is going to be so early on in the season, the game as we knew was going to be a hard one but I think once we realised how fast there skaters were and how well they played the puck we just dug in and kept up with them. The score line shows that all the hard work that the coaches are doing on the ice at training is paying off!

Widnes Wild will now turn their focus to their first ever competitive game, which will be against Deeside Dragons.

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