The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild bounced back from the previous evening’s 9-8 defeat to notch up a well fought 4-3 win at home to the Sheffield Scimitars in the NIHL North Three Rivers Cup at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
Unlike the previous night’s “goal-fest” of a game, the first goal did not come until the 15th minute and it was scored by Sheffield’s Scott McKenzie – the former Wild player coach who was making his first appearance on Widnes ice since leaving the club in contentious circumstances in the summer of 2016. The Scimitars scored again just two minutes later and took a 0-2 lead in to the dressing room at the first break.
Widnes finally opened their account on 24 minutes with a well worked goal from Adam Barnes but that was the only strike in the second period. With the score so close at 1-2 and the game on a knife-edge, the third period became quite niggly and saw a lot of penalties being given out. Widnes were visibly fired up and desperate to get something out of this game and Sheffield seemed to lose their earlier composure and found themselves shorthanded for long periods. The Wild made the most of this and picked up two powerplay goals – from Brady Doxey and Jordan Griffin on 51 and 54 minutes respectively – to finally edge into the lead.
They extended their advantage to 4-2 with a second goal of the game from Adam Barnes on 56 minutes but Sheffield removed their netminder for the last 90 seconds of the game and forced a late goal with just 15 seconds left to play.
However, the Wild defence held strong for those last few seconds and Widnes were able to celebrate their first win over Sheffield in this three team tournament.
The Scimitars still top the Three Rivers Cup table after the weekend’s matches with 8 points from 5 games.
Widnes move into second place with 4 points from 5 games although bottom team Nottingham now have a game in hand.
The Wild could still theoretically win the cup if they win their remaining three matches, bit it would also need Nottingham to beat Sheffield at least once – if not twice – which doesn’t look likely on current form.