Weekend Preview: 23rd & 24th March
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild will need to come back down to earth a bit after Sunday’s jubilant title winning celebrations as they get back to the nitty gritty of the league schedule with a game away to fierce local rivals Deeside Dragons this Sunday 24th March – 5.45pm face off.
With the Wild already confirmed as league champions and the Dragons now unable to reach the play off spots, there may be little to play for on paper but local pride can be a huge motivator and, with two wins from their remaining two games, Deeside could theoretically improve their final league position by one place and overtake Coventry to finish in 6th place.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, both of those final league games are against the newly crowned league champions – with the second meeting at Planet Ice Widnes the following Sunday 31st March – and Widnes have won both previous meetings between the two teams this season so far.
The Wild won 2-5 away in North Wales in November and then 11-4 at home in February and, with the Dragons having lost their last 3 games and, indeed, 7 of their last 8, it is rather hard to foresee a scenario where they might overturn that trend.
But league positions and recent form can count for nothing in derby games, as was demonstrated last Sunday when the next to bottom team Altrincham Aces arrived in Widnes with a very short bench but came away with their best result against the Wild all season – admittedly a 4-1 defeat – but it just goes to show how unpredictable an ice hockey game can be.
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are away to the Deeside Dragons this Saturday 24th March and then at home to the Dragons for their last game of the regular season the following Sunday 31st March at Planet Ice Widnes.
On that night, the team will be presented with the Laidler Division Championship trophy and medals by the EIHA and will be an occasion not to be missed.
The Wild Academy Under 15 team are at home on Saturday 23rd March when they take on league leaders Nottingham at Planet Ice Widnes – 6.50pm face off.
The Under 15 team are in their first season of league competition and it is a rather steep learning curve as they are up against long-established teams with players who already have 7 or 8 years playing experience behind them – so this season is all about gaining ice time and experience rather than necessarily challenging for trophies.
The Wild have yet to beat the Nottingham U15s in three meetings so far this season and the Lace City youngsters have a 100% record in the league, having conceded just 13 goals in their 9 games.
This is the Wild U15s’ last home game of the season, after which they have away games at Blackburn on 30th March and Deeside on 27th April. Face off for the home game this Saturday is at 6.50pm and admission is free.