Sunday 13th November 2022 – Moralee Division
YKK Widnes Wild 4 – Blackburn Hawks 3
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild extended their winning run to three in a row with a closely fought 4-3 victory over north-west rivals Blackburn Hawks at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
This was the first meeting between the two teams this season and had been keenly anticipated by both sets of fans and , as it was Remembrance Sunday, there was a wreath laying ceremony, 2 minutes’ silence, bugle calls and readings before the game.
The match itself was very close throughout and the result could easily have gone either way until the very last minute.
After weathering an early storm, where Joe Greaves managed to spend most of the first 5 minutes in the penalty box due to niggly infringements, the Wild opened the scoring on 8 minutes with a fine individual goal from Joey Coulter.
Blackburn equalised 4 minutes later and the game ebbed and flowed with plenty of puck possession and chances for both teams. Widnes edged back into the lead with a goal from Greaves on 17 minutes and the score remained 2-1 at the first period break.
The second period was similarly closely contested and featured plenty of robust “old time” hockey but finished goal-less so the score still stood at 2-1 with just 20 minutes left to play.
Blackburn scored the next goal in the game – some 30 minutes after the previous strike on 47 minutes – and tensions were ramped up among the sizeable crowd around the rink.
Widnes took the lead again with a goal on 50 minutes from player coach Richard Haggar and then doubled the advantage 3 minutes later with a short handed goal from Dani Haid, to put some daylight between the two teams for the first time in the match.
The Hawks pushed forward to try and salvage something from the game and their pressure forced the Wild into a series of niggly penalties which the visitors took full advantage of by scoring a powerplay goal on 56 minutes.
With just one goal difference in the game and Blackburn pushing for a late equaliser, the closing minutes of the match were very tense. The Hawks lifted their netminder for the last minute in favour of an extra attacker but it was to avail and the Wild defence held out to record an important 4-3 victory.
The Wild are next in action this Sunday 20th November when they take on Sheffield Scimitars in the Moralee Division at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.
They should have been playing Deeside Dragons away in North Wales on Saturday but that game has had to be postponed because the Queensferry rink is not yet ready to stage matches after a post-Covid refit.
The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders played their first game in over 3 years when they travelled to face the Shropshire Huskies in Telford on Friday night – narrowly losing out 4-3 in a closely fought challenge match.
Following a three year break from competition due to the Covid lockdowns and a period of team rebuilding, the Riverside Raiders plan to take part in the 2023 Summer Classic Cup, a tournament in which they won the Play Off title back in 2017. Full squad details and fixture dates will be announced nearer the time.