REPORT: Wild 5 – 8 Minotaurs


The newly branded Manchester Minotaurs played their first game against Widnes Wild on Sunday night in a 13-goal thriller.

A big and vocal Bank Holiday crowd saw an all action contest at the Silver Blades Rink. Both teams were missing key players,but Moralee Conference Minotaurs still packed a wealth of talent, including players with Premier League experience. It was an unbalanced Wild team that skated out in their new all black away uniforms. Missing former Manchester netminder Tom McDonald, they were also missing four of the six signed defencemen.

The game burst into life in the first minute, when former Widnes triallist Lukas Zeman scored the first of his four goals. Short of key defencemen, Widnes struggled early on to to cope with the fast skating and skilled Manchester attack. The home team worked their way into the game and deservedly equalised through the impressive Ben Simister. He beat Paul Maudsley with a low shot.Just before the end of the period, Zeeman scored a second goal for Manchester.

An explosive opening three minutes of the second period saw four goals, three of them to Manchester. Lukas Zeman completed a hat trick only for Richard Charles to reply for the Wild, following good work from Chris Preston. Inside a minute Chris Gee had restored Manchester’s three goal cushion. Steve Gilmartin made a series of close range saves as Manchester kept possession in the Widnes end. Greg Ruxton replaced Gilmartin in the Wild goal after 33 minutes and Nicole Jackson – the Great Britain Ladies netminder – replaced Maudsley. As the period drew to a close, former Manchester junior, Tom Ratcliffe added a third Widnes goal following impressive work from Craig Williams and Simister. It was Ratcliffe’s first senior goal on his first appearance for the Wild.

The third period opened with a sixth Manchester goal when captain Max Drakeley fired home. Both teams engaged in a see saw battle in an evenly contested final period. Ruxton in the Wild net made some outstanding saves matched by Manchester’s Jackson, as both sides piled on the pressure. Big Callum Ruddick showed his obvious delight, when he blasted an angled shot high into the net for a fourth Widnes goal. At the other end, Zeman scored his fourth on a breakaway, after sustained Widnes pressure. Man of the match Chris Preston scored a fifth for the Wild in the 53rd minute. Preston almost skated himself to a standstill in an all action performance, much appreciated by the home support. As Widnes battled to get something from the game, a Jared Dickinson goal for the Minotaurs wrapped up the scoring with three minutes to go.

Wild Head Coach, Mark Gillingham, was delighted with the effort put in by his team despite being without most of his defencemen

“The character shown by the squad in fitting in to unfamiliar roles, bodes well for the season ahead. The players are setting high standards for themselves, which makes my job a lot easier. We’ve played two challenge games against higher level opposition, and we’ve competed for a full sixty minutes in both instances, both times with a weakened side. When it comes to playing teams in our own league, I’m sure we’ll start picking up results.”

Widnes next take to the ice when they make the short trip to Queensferry to meet the Deeside Dragons, for the league opener on Sunday 8th September.(18.40p,)

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