Saturday 26th November – North West Cup
Blackburn Hawks 3 – YKK Widnes Wild 2
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild narrowly lost out 3-2 in the first leg of the North West Cup away to Blackburn Hawks on Saturday.
Games against Blackburn are always passionate and robust occasions and this was no exception – with 100 penalty minutes being handed out in the game – albeit most of them coming after the final buzzer!
The game saw a surprise debut for new signing Tom Barry who has played some 200 games at EPL and National Division and made the move from the Peterborough Phantoms to Widnes during the week, and also for 16 year old Hull junior player Kohen Taylor – who is the younger brother of Reaghan.
Blackburn took the lead after just 48 seconds of the game and went 2-0 up on 4 minutes. Widnes had chances of their own but were unable to make any sort of breakthrough and the score remained 2-0 at the first period break.
The Hawks went 3-0 up after 2 minutes of the second period leaving the Wild with a lot of catching up to do. They finally found the back of the net on 28 minutes with a strike from Andrew Hopkins on a delayed penalty call for a Blackburn infringement.
Widnes had more of the play in the second period - outshooting the hosts by 17 to 5 – but still had trouble beating the netminder and the score remained 3-1 at the second break.
Tensions began to mount as the clock slowly ticked down on the third period and both teams started picking up niggly penalties. The Wild scored their second goal of the night on 47 minutes with player coach Richard Haggar taking advantage of a powerplay for tripping and Widnes upped their game to try and force an equaliser.
Unfortunately, it was not to be and Blackburn held out to secure the 3-2 win.
The result means that Widnes would need to win the home leg – to be held at Planet Ice on Saturday 10th December – by two clear goals to win the Cup.
There were unseemly scenes on the ice after the game as a bout of pushing and shoving during the handshakes developed into a serious fracas.
After the match officials had sorted it all out and managed to get the players off the ice, the Wild’s Adam Jasecko was assessed a 2 minute penalty for a face-cage violation and 5 plus game for fighting while Blackburn’s Darmani James received an eye watering 49 minutes – 2 for instigating, 2 for face-cage violation, 5 plus game for fighting and a further game for resisting officials – all from the same incident.