Tame End to a Wild Season
Saturday saw the Widnes Wild face the Sheffield Spartans at Blackburn Ice Arena in a one off game for the final spot the in NiHL Moralee Conference.Â Due to Sheffield being unable to secure ice at their home venue it was agreed that a one off game would be played at a neutral venue rather than the traditional two game series.
After a long, hard season which saw the Wild finish second in the league and runners-up in the playoffs it was apparent that all the playerâ€™s energy and emotion had been used in the previous weekends playoff competitions.Â With the Division One Spartans able to ice practically a full squad the Wild were missing their first choice netminder Greg Ruxton as well as key defenceman Keiran Strangeway.
Early in the first period the Yorkshire team managed to take advantage of a defensive error whilst the Wild were on the powerplay, leading to Stuart Brittle opening the scoring for the Spartans.Â The Wild were then able to match the Spartans until 10 seconds before the end of the first period when the Spartans took advantage of a powerplay to score their second.
The second period was a very even affair with a single goal in the more experienced Spartans favour before a third period which saw the Sheffield team score at the beginning and end of the period leading to a final score of Wild 0 â€“ Spartans 5.
Player coach, Scott McKenzie, who played despite a broken toe, commented;
â€œIt is extremely disappointing to end the season with such a poor performance. The guys really let themselves down on Saturday and they have no one to blame but themselves. If you want to play at the highest level, you have to want it more than the guy sat next to you, we didnâ€™t show that level of heart and got what we deservedâ€.
â€œWhen you look at the whole season and what we have achieved as a club it has been successful, 2nd place in the league, runners up in the playoffs and just missing out on promotion. The club is only going to head in one direction, it is a process, we have good structure in place and as we build, we will only get stronger.â€
The Wild are holding their end of season awards on Saturday night at Parklands, Widnes, to celebrate what has been a fantastic year for the club. Season ticket information will be released this week with fans being able to purchase an early bird season ticket before the 31st of May