Kieran Brown (#12) is the Wild’s leading scorer so far in the Three Rivers Cup with 4 goals and 2 assists. (Photo by Geoff White)
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild picked up their first win of the Three Rivers Cup series with an outstanding 3-5 victory away to Nottingham Lions on Saturday.
Having lost their opening two matches in the competition, it was important to come away from the Lace City with a result and that is exactly what happened.
Since winning the opening game in Widnes two weeks ago, Nottingham had further boosted their squad with the addition of former GB international and Elite League player Marc Levers. However, the Wild had their own new signing in the shape of Kieran Beach – who had formed a deadly striking partnership with Richard Haggar in the past at Hull Jets and will undoubtedly be a useful addition to the Widnes roster.
Widnes took the lead after just 52 seconds with a great strike from Jordan Griffin, before the Lions had hardly had a touch of the puck, and it was 0-2 just two minutes later after another fine goal from the same player.
A superb individual goal from Kieran Brown put the Wild 0-3 up after 14 minutes but a goal back for the Lions two minutes later gave the hosts something to build on for the second period.
Nottingham visibly upped their game after the break and outshot Widnes by 13 to 10 over the period. However, the Wild continued to make the most of their chances and restored their 3 goal advantage with a powerplay goal from Dani Haid on 26 minutes while Lions captain Luke Thomas was in the box for a tripping penalty.
A second goal of the game for Kieran Brown put Widnes 1-5 up on 37 minutes but Nottingham pulled a goal back in the dying seconds of the period to give themselves something to play for in the final 20 minutes.
Widnes eased off slightly in the third period to sit back and protect their lead and Nottingham managed to narrow the deficit down to just two goals with a 45th minute strike. They tried hard to break through the Widnes defence but made little headway until, with just 90 seconds left in the game, Wild’s Kieran Brown picked up a slashing penalty to give the Lions a man advantage. Nottingham pulled their netminder to bring on an extra attacker and give them a 6 on 4 play in front of the Widnes goal. The Wild managed to weather this last storm and were able to celebrate their first away win in Nottingham since February 2017.
After the game, Wild Player Coach Richard Haggar said:
“It was an excellent performance all round from the guys. Everyone worked hard and we got the result we wanted. The couple of weeks training together before this game really showed and we executed our game plan.”
”It was good to get the first win on the board too and there is still a lot more to come from the group over the coming weeks.”
In the other game of the weekend, the Sheffield Scimitars beat Nottingham Lions 7-4 on Sunday to maintain their 100% record in the Three Rivers Cup competition. They sit top of the table with 6 points from their 3 games to date.
Widnes and Nottingham both have 2 points but the Lions currently occupy second place in the three team group by virtue of a slightly superior playing record in games between the two teams.
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are away to Sheffield Scimitars this Saturday 1st May – 7pm face off and then at home to Sheffield the day after at Planet Ice Widnes – 1.30pm face off. Both games are being played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions but will be livestreamed on the internet.
- Saturday 24th April 2021 – NIHL North Three Rivers Cup
- Nottingham Lions 3 – YKK Widnes Wild 5
- Period Scores: 1-3, 1-2, 1-0
- Shots On Goal: Nottm 41 – Widnes 33 (14-15, 13-10, 14-8)
- Penalties In Minutes: Nottm 4 – Widnes 6
- Match Officials: Adam Hands (Referee), Lawson Glasby / David Astill (Linesmen)
- Match Report by Paul Breeze