Saturday 21st January – Moralee Cup Semi Final (2nd Leg)
YKK Widnes Wild 2 – Solway Sharks 11
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild missed out the chance to qualify for their second Moralee Cup final in two seasons with a disappointing 2-11 defeat in the second leg of the semi final to Solway Sharks at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.
The Wild already faced an uphill struggle to progress in the competition after losing the first leg 5-1 away in Scotland two weeks ago and overturning a four goal deficit always seemed unlikely - but what followed was still rather unexpected.
Solway looked the more fired up from the off and had the most of the early exchanges. The pressure paid off and the visitors’ first goal came on 8 minutes. Two more strikes followed on 14 and 17 minutes and the Sharks led 0-3 on the night – and 1-8 on aggregate - at the first period break.
The second period continued in much the same vein, with Solway enjoying most of the puck possession and heavily outshooting the Wild. A goal just 59 seconds from the restart did little to ease the home side’s fortunes and a 5th goal for Solway just 70 seconds after that effectively ended the game as a contest.
Widnes swapped netminders at this point - in an attempt to shake things up a bit - with Evan Coles coming on to replace Miles Finney, but the onslaught continued with the Wild looking hesitant with their own attacks while Solway looked ever threatening with each of theirs.
Two more goals followed for Solway and by the time that player coach Richard Haggar finally found the back of the net for Widnes with a powerplay goal on 30 minutes, the score stood at 1-7. A shorthanded goal for the visitors on 37 minutes made the score 1-8 and that was the end of the action for the second period.
Widnes had a bit more of the play in the third period and eventually scored again with a second goal from Haggar in the 48th minute. However, Solway hit three more goals in the latter stages to record a convincing 2-11 victory on the night (3-16 on aggregate) to progress to the two-legged final.
Evan Coles played out of his skin in the Widnes goal and, were it not for his heroics - turning away 31 of the 37 shots that he faced - the score might have been much higher.
Widnes could now, at least, “concentrate on the league” and had the chance to bounce straight back with a crunch 4th v 5th Moralee Division game away at Solihull Barons the following night.