The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild stage their last home game of the regular season when they entertain Bradford Bulldogs this Sunday 26th March at Silver Blades Widnes.
With both teams already secured in their respective finishing positions of 2nd and 7th respectively, there is little to play for other than pride but ice hockey players are always keen to win games and the Wild will be keen to maintain their current momentum in the run-up to a potential promotion game (details of which have yet to be announced) as well as the end of season play-off weekend.
Also, picking up two points on Sunday would bring the Wild to within 1 point of crowned league champions Blackburn Eagles – at least until the league leaders’ last game of the season also finishes.
The games between Widnes and Bradford this season have all been well contested and entertaining – for various reasons. The first meeting of the season – away in West Yorkshire – saw the Bulldogs take a 3-0 lead before Widnes eventually got their act together to narrowly win 4-5, while the first home game produced an 8-0 shut out for the Wild.
In the most recent match between the two teams, Widnes won 3-8 – although the game was cut short with 15 minutes still to play after some plexi glass was damaged at the Bradford rink.
There is also the matter of the player’s scoring standings where Wild’s Stuart Brittle has climbed to second place in the table with 19+38 in 27 games and Ollie Barron is currently in 5th place with 29+21. While neither of them is likely to catch the Laidler Conference’s top overall points scorer – Richard Hagger of Hull Jets, who has 31+39 – Brittle could potentially overtake his assists tally in this last game and Barron could still yet become top goal scorer for the season.
Looking ahead to the game on Sunday, Wild player coach Ollie Barron said:
“Again we will play this game how I always want us to play and to take 2 points. We are under no illusions that this will be a nothing game, as many times this league has proved there are no easy games.”
The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild host Bradford Bulldogs for their final league game of the season this Sunday 26th March at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45 (don’t forget to change your clocks!).
Report by Paul Breeze (www.icehockeyreview.co.uk)
Photos by Geoff White (www.gw-images.com)