Match action from the Wild v Lions games in the new Three Rivers Cup. (Photo by Geoff White)
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild suffered defeat in the opening game of the new NIHL North Three Rivers Cup competition, losing 2-6 at home to Nottingham Lions on Saturday at Planet Ice Widnes.
With this new set of games being played during the period that is usually ice hockey’s close season, a number of the players who had taken part in the Wild’s successful NIHL North Cup campaign were unavailable and new player coach Richard Haggar drafted in an interesting mix of youth and experience to replace them.
In came Kieran Brown – who has played at Elite League level with the Sheffield Steelers, Sheffield Steeldogs player Brady Doxey, promising young netminder Harrison Walker from Blackburn and Haggar’s former Hull team mates Jay Robinson and Boris Giba. Bobby Streetly – with over 300 NIHL games under his belt with Blackburn Hawks and Wightlink Raiders brings extra experience – and Wild Academy Under 18 player Tristan Grimshaw has also been promoted to the senior team.
The game on Saturday was actually a lot closer than the scoreline suggests and could have gone either way until the final few minutes.
Widnes actually outshot Nottingham in the first period and looked to have taken the lead through a Bez Hughes strike on 10 minutes, but the goal was disallowed as the puck had come off the player’s foot and Nottingham then went on to score at the other end less than a minute later.
A great short-handed goal from Kieran Brown on his Widnes debut just two minutes into the second period levelled the score but Nottingham edged ahead again on 36 minutes and the score remained 1-2 heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
Widnes equalised again on 50 minutes with another goal from Brown – setting up an exciting finale to the game – and they then upped the pressure on the Nottingham defence in an attempt to take the lead.
The tactic backfired, however, and Nottingham pulled ahead again just 2 minutes later. Two more goals in the last minute of the game made sure of the points for the Lions and left the new Wild player coach with plenty of things to think about ahead of the next day’s game away at Sheffield.
- Saturday 10th April 2021 – NIHL North 3 Rivers Cup
- YKK Widnes Wild 2 – Nottingham Lions 6
- Period Scores: 0-1, 1-1, 1-4
- Shots on Goal: Widnes 34 – Nottingham 36 ( 16-10, 11-9, 9-15)
- Penalties In Minutes: Widnes 24 – Nottingham 24
- Match Officials: Craig Williams (Referee), Andrews & Smith (Linesmen)
- Match Report by Paul Breeze
- Photos by Geoff White