The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild narrowly lost out in a thrilling 9-8 defeat away to Sheffield Scimitars in the Three Rivers Cup on Saturday evening.
As the final result suggests, this was a fascinating game to watch with goals galore at both ends and was more reminiscent of a British League game from the early 1980s where scores tended to reach double figures on many occasions, albeit without any of the ill-disciplined penalties that often went with it!
The game was played at a terrific tempo throughout out but, despite the intensity, there were surprisingly few penalties – with Widnes picking up just 6 minutes all night and Sheffield only being handed one 2-minute penalty for too many men on the ice.
Sheffield took the lead with their very first attack after just 9 seconds but Widnes equalised with a short-handed goal from Kieran Brown in the 6th minute. The Senators edged back into the lead 30 seconds later on the same powerplay but a fine strike from Bez Hughes levelled matters once again for the Wild less than a minute after that.
Following that, a disastrous spell saw Sheffield strike three times in 64 seconds to open up a 5-2 lead but Widnes managed to pull one back before the break through Lewis Baldwin, to narrow the margin to just two goals at the first break.
Sheffield kept up the pressure in the second period and outshot Widnes by an incredible 14 to 5 over the 20 minutes. They opened up a 4 goal lead with strikes on 23 and 28 minutes before the Wild finally managed to stop the rot with a goal from Adam Barnes at the midway point of the game.
Two more goals for Sheffield – split by a second strike of the night for Kieran Brown – left the score standing at 9-5 at the end of the second period, with Widnes facing an uphill struggle to turn things around.
A combination of Widnes upping their game and the Scimitars shutting up shop to sit back and protect what they had saw a fascinating third period where the Wild out-shot Sheffield by 14 to 4.
Two quick fire goals within 25 seconds of each other on 44 minutes from Adam Barnes pulled Widnes right back into contention at 9-7 with 15 minutes still to play and they continued to put pressure on the Sheffield goal.
A hat trick goal from Kieran Brown with just 60 seconds left on the clock ramped up the tension even further but, despite withdrawing their netminder in favour of an extra attacker for the last few seconds, Widnes were not able to force a late equaliser and the game finished at 9-8 to Sheffield.
- Saturday 1st May 2021 – NIHL North Three Rivers Cup
- Sheffield Scimitars 9 – YKK Widnes Wild 8
- Period Scores: 5-3, 4-2, 0-3
- Shots on Goal: Sheffield 30 – Widnes 33 (10-14, 16-5, 4-14)
- Penalties In Minutes: Sheffield 2 – Widnes 6
- Match Officials: Craig Williams (Referee), Ethan Hardy & Paul Staniforth (Linesmen)
- Match Report by Paul Breeze
- Photos by Geoff White