Match Preview: Wild v Tigers, 17th February
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild face one of the most important games of their Laidler Division season this Sunday 17th February when they welcome the Telford Tigers 2 team to Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.
It’s a case of 1st versus 2nd and, while the Wild have a 10-point advantage over Telford in the league table, the Tigers do have games in hand and there is still a lot of ice hockey to be played in this campaign.
With the number of games that they have left to play, Telford can still achieve a maximum of 50 points for the season – but if Widnes beat them in normal time on Sunday, they would only be able to reach 48. Widnes can reach 48 points this Sunday if they beat the Tigers, matching their revised total.
Telford, however, have the advantage overall in games between the two teams this season, having won the two encounters down in Shropshire 2-0 and 4-3, while the Wild won the only home meeting 2-1.
This means that Widnes need to beat Telford by two clear goals to level the series between them and by three clear goals to finish above them in the – admittedly, rather unlikely – event that the two teams should happen to end up on the same number of points at the end of the season.
The game on Sunday will see the return of former Wild import Filip Supa who played for the Telford Tigers first team last season in the Moralee Division and started this season with Solihull Barons before switching mid-season to the Tigers 2.
Telford arrive on the back of a 5-game winning streak and, in their last game, they notched up a dramatic win away on Humberside beating Hull Jets in a penalty shoot-out.
The Jets are also still very much in the championship mix and they can currently achieve a maximum of 49 points with the games that they still have to play. Hull are away in Altrincham on Sunday night and, were the Aces to win that game in normal time, that would mean the Jets could then only reach 47 points from their remaining games of the season and Widnes could – at least, theoretically – secure the league title on Sunday.
Alongside the title race, there are still three places left to fill in the end of season play offs, which will take place at Planet Ice Widnes over the weekend of 20th & 21st April.
Widnes have already secured one berth but there are 7 teams still in contention for the other 3 places and final league positions are particularly important when it comes to the semi final draw.
The league winners will play against the team that finishes 4th and 2nd will play against 3rd so there is still much to play for as the 2018/19 Laidler Division season approaches its exciting climax.
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild take on the Telford Tigers 2 this Sunday at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pm and doors open at 4.45.
Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
Photos by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com