Saturday 22nd October – Moralee Division
Solway Sharks 5 – YKK Widnes Wild 2
Sunday 23rd October – Moralee Division
YKK Widnes Wild 1 – Billingham Stars 5
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild had a disappointing weekend losing 5-2 away to Solway Sharks on Saturday and then 1-5 at home to Billingham Stars at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Wild travelled to Scotland on Saturday with several key players missing from the team and knew that they were in for an uphill struggle against last season’s league champions. After a few chances for both sides, Solway eventually opened the scoring on 12 minutes but Dani Haid equalised for Widnes 4 minutes later to leave the score standing at a very respectable 1-1 at the first period break.
The second period saw Solway edge back into the lead with 2 more goals but then Widnes were handed the chance to pull one back when they were awarded a Penalty Shot. Unfortunately Matty Barlow was unable to beat the Solway netminder and the score stood at 3-1 after two periods.
Early in the 3rd period, player coach Richard Haggar handed the Wild a lifeline with a fine goal to narrow the score to 3-2. Widnes had more of the play in the third period and Solway started to pick up niggly penalties in an attempt to keep them at bay. However, while the Wild were pushing forward in search of an equaliser, they were caught out at the back and two further goals for Solway sealed the win for the Scotsmen.
Halloween came early to Widnes as, without a home game next weekend, the Wild team decided to hold their fancy dress event this Sunday instead. Unfortunately, the spooky festive theme didn’t just remain in the spectator stands and a veritable nightmare unfolded on the ice as well.
For some reason or other – quite possibly connected with the late finish the night before and the long drive home from Scotland – Widnes never really got going in the game on Sunday against Billingham. They had plenty of chances but weren’t able to make the most of them - and the visiting Stars were the more clinical finishers on the night.
Billingham took the lead after 3 minutes and the score remained 0-1 at the first period break. With just a single goal deficit to make up at the start of the second period, the situation looked retrievable but Billingham scored again on 25 minutes and then added a third goal just 60 seconds later, leaving Widnes with a much bigger mountain to climb.
A fourth goal for the visitors came in the dying seconds of the period and the score stood at 0-4 with 20 minutes left to play.
The Wild finally managed to break their duck with a goal from Nathan Britton 2 minutes into the third period to pull the score back to 1-4 but, despite putting the Billingham net under increasing pressure, were unable to build on that.
The game saw a home debut for new signing Jacob Causon–Heron – a two time EPL league champion with Milton Keynes Lightning and Manchester Phoenix and veteran of over 300 matches at that level - but even his presence wasn’t enough to spur the Wild team on to a late comeback.
An empty net goal from the Stars – after Wild netminder Miles Finney had been withdrawn in favour of an extra attacker for the last minute – rounded off the scoring for the match and Widnes slumped to their 3rd consecutive league defeat.
The Wild are next in action this Saturday 29th October when they travel away to take on bottom team Sheffield Scimitars at iceSheffield – 7.30pm face off.
They are then at home to Deeside Dragons on Sunday 6th November for a Moralee Division game at Planet Ice Widnes.
The Wild Academy Junior teams have three matches at the weekend. The Academy Under 14 and Under 18 teams are both at home to Manchester on Saturday 29th October at Planet Ice Widnes – 4.20 and 6pm face off respectively – while the Under 16 team are away to Leeds on Sunday – 5.35pm start.
The Wild Ladies team are at home to Sheffield in WNIHL Division 2 North on Sunday 30th October at Planet ice Widnes – 4.15pm face off.