Saturday 28th January – Moralee Division
YKK Widnes Wild 5 – Sheffield Scimitars 3
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild got back to winning ways with a closely fought 5-3 victory over Sheffield Scimitars at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.
The Wild club had undergone some upheaval during the week with the sudden departure of player coach and hitherto top goalscorer Richard Haggar, who was quickly replaced by Joey Coulter for the remainder of the season.
Sheffield had much of the early play and didn’t really look like a team that were rooted at the bottom of the Moralee Division table without a win all season and it took the new Coulter-era Wild team a while to get going.
The visitors were plagued by indiscipline throughout this game and it was thanks to powerplay goals – from Dani Haid on 13 minutes and Coulter on 15 – that Widnes were eventually able to take a 2 goal lead into the first break.
Sheffield hauled themselves back into the game with two goals within a minute or so of each other early in the second period but Widnes edged back into the lead at the midway point of the game with a strike from Nathan Parkes-Britton.
The Wild finished the second period with a narrow 3-2 lead but the game was far from won and there was still a lot to do in the final 20 minutes.
A third goal for Sheffield early in the third period tied the game at 3-3 but more indiscipline from Scimitars players upset any momentum that they might have hoped to build and a goal from Rhys Edwards on 48 minutes restored the Wild’s slim advantage.
Hanging on to a single goal lead is always nerve-wracking – especially so in ice hockey where it can only take 5 seconds for the opposition to skate the length of the ice and score – so this game remained hanging on a thread as it entered its final minutes.
The Scimitars called a time out with 90 seconds left on the clock – presumably to discuss pulling their netminder in favour of an extra attacker should the opportunity arise – but that didn’t happen and any nagging doubts in the yellow camp were finally dispelled when Matty Barlow fired in a 5th Widnes goal with 49 seconds left to play.
The resulting 5-3 win gives Joey Coulter his first victory as the new Wild player coach and two very important points in the Moralee Division table.