Telford Tigers 5 Widnes Wild 2
Widnes Wild travelled to Telford on Sunday for a fixture which could have a big bearing on their play off prospects. Tigers were the last top three team that Widnes were scheduled to meet in the remaining league fixtures. Nicole Jackson and Josh Benstead travelled as netminders. Bobby Caunce, Chris Preston, Dan Bracegirdle and Greg Ruxton were unavailable. Pavel Vales was a late illness absentee. Tom Barry and George Crawshaw were available.
The first period opened with constant pressure from the Wild. Armstrong , Dipnall, Supa and Pollitt all brought good saves from Bell. After an opening period of control and Wild pressing up in the Tigers end, Telford broke clear. Smith found Karol Jets and he finished by firing into the top right of the net to give Telford a 1-0 lead at 7.47. The goal strongly affected the pattern of the game with Telford looking to use their speed on the breakaway. Widnes continued to press with Denis Bell proving to be the major obstacle. At 16.41 Tigers went further ahead with a neat one two close in – Washburn finding the net .Just seconds later it was 3-0 when Aston hit an angled shot from the left into the top left corner at 16.59. Wild called a time out.
Wild opened the second period on the powerplay and Filip Supa saw his well placed shot well saved by Bell. Widnes got on the scoresheet at 22.15 when Bez Hughes was sent clear and he fired high past Bell. At the other end Nicole Jackson made two excellent saves in the 24th minute from distance and close in. Telford went further ahead at 31.51 when Jets fed Smith from the right and Smith got the tip in. Bell made another vital save for the Tigers, keeping a Tom Barry blockbuster out of the top corner at 33.49. At 38.00, Sam Dunford sent Filip Supa clear but he couldn’t beat Bell who dived low to kep the puck out. Wild had a three on one breakaway at 38.50 but couldnt beat Bell.
A disastrous defensive error at 40.14 saw Tigers go 5 – 1 ahead at the start of the third period. Failure to clear the puck in front of the net saw James Smith score from close in. Both netminders then made outstanding saves, Nicole Jackson from an attempted tip in and Bell with a save in the top left corner. Wild pulled back to 5 – 2 at 45.31 when Dipnall and Pollitt combined for Supa to get the tip in . At 47.22 Danny Bullock was sent clear but his powerful shot was well saved by Bell.
Both sides looked dangerous on attack but at 51.09 an incident in front of the Wild net saw Callum Ruddick receive 2+ 10 for a check from behind and 2 minutes for roughing. Wild battled hard shorthanded to contain a well organised Tigers powerplay. George Crawshaw and Tom Barry both went close, the latter player seeing a powerful shot to the top left superbly saved by Bell. Bez Hughes took the MVP in his former home rink but it was a good hardworking performance from Wild, again missing key personnel. As in previous games between the teams, the clinical finishing of the Tigers and the outstanding netminding of Denis Bell gave the Midlanders the edge. No one could fault the all round effort from the team and they got loud vocal encouragement from the travelling support , as they left the ice.
Next Sunday Wild make their first visit of the season to Humberside, to meet closest rivals the Hull Jets, with a 17.30 face off.