The Wild Ladies team opened the new WNIHL season with an 8-4 defeat away to Solway (Photo by MadMac Photography)
Saturday 1st October 2022 – WNIHL Div 2 (N)
Solway Sharks Ladies 8 - Widnes Wild Ladies 4
The Widnes Wild Ladies team put in a battling performance away to Solway Sharks Ladies in Dumfries on Saturday in their first league game of the new season but ultimately lost out 8-4.
As is usual in ice hockey, there has been a lot of player movement during the summer months and this game saw Wild debuts for three new signings.
Canadian born Lise Gillen hails from Victoria, British Columbia, and recently played 3 seasons for Guildford Lightning in the English Women’s Elite League.
Joining her on the Wild bench for the game were Victoria Connelly, who has also played Elite League hockey for Guildford and Rachael Pearce who has previously played for Blackburn Thunder.
Sophia Green, who also plays for the Wild Academy Under 16 team, was given her first senior women’s call up and the squad was further boosted by the return of former Wild women’s players Lucy Kirkham - who has spent a few years away from league hockey - and Sav Sumner, who played last season with Whitley in the Elite League.
The game itself was much closer than the final scoreline suggests and Widnes were hampered by the fact that they didn’t have a recognised netminder available to make the trip north of the border.
In the end, attacking player Charlotte Cramp bravely donned the pads – having only ever gone in goal once before in a training session – and went on to give a very good account of herself.
Solway took the lead after 3 minutes but Widnes equalised just 60 seconds later with a goal from last season’s top scorer Preston Gennoe.
The Wild Ladies took the lead with a goal from Leen de Decker in the 6th minute but were eventually pegged back and the score stood at 2-2 at the first period break.
Widnes took the lead again on 25 minutes with a second goal from Gennoe
but the hosts fought back and three unanswered goals within 4 minutes of each other saw them leading 5-3 at the end of the second period.
Solway extended the lead to 6-3 on 46 minutes but a hat-trick goal for Gennoe on 50 minutes gave the Wild Ladies hope of mounting a late fight back.
Unfortunately, while they were pressing forward in an attempt to salvage something from the game, Solway fired in two late goals – to give a final score of 8-4 to the Sharks.
After the game, stand-in netminder Charlotte Cramp was named MVP for the Wild after stopping 24 of the 32 shots that she faced.
Wild Ladies team head coach Adam Lappin said afterwards:
“This was a very good first outing for this team and the new signings have brought a good depth to the squad.”
“This would have been a different contest had we had our goalies available, but Charlotte Cramp has to be commended for stepping up and volunteering to play in goal; the score line did not reflect how well she played in her first game as a goalie!”
“We have a few points to work on from the game, but lots of positives for the Ladies to take away from today.”
The Widnes Wild Ladies team are next in action on Sunday 16th October when they take on last season’s Division 1 North champions Whitley Bay Beacons at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.