Wild Firmly In Play Off Mix After Away Win In Blackburn
Wild’s Nick Manning (#19) in action away at Blackburn
The RTL-sponsored Widnes Wild boosted their Laidler Division play off hopes with a 2-8 win away to Blackburn Hawks on Sunday.
This visit to the league’s bottom team always looked likely to end in a Widnes win but the Hawks development team made them work hard for the points and the result remained very much in doubt until the third period.
Despite heavily out-shooting the Hawks throughout the game, the first goal didn’t come until the 12th minute when Nick Manning opened the scoring for the Wild. Blackburn responded with a goal of their own just 3 minutes later and it was only due to a fine Pavel Vales strike late in the period that Widnes were able to take a 1-2 lead into the first break.
The second period was another incredibly tense affair, with the Hawks defending strongly and the Wild attack having trouble making the most of their long periods of possession. In fact, it was the Hawks who scored next to tie the score at 2-2 just after the halfway point in the game, and the Wild’s one-goal cushion was eventually restored with a powerplay goal by Ollie Barron in the last minute of the period.
The third period finally brought out some of the form that the Wild will need to maintain over the next few games if they want to confirm their play off credentials. Three goals came in less than two minutes – from Matty Barlow, Geoff Wigglesworth and Ollie Barron – and the contest was effectively over by the 45th minute. A goal from Mikey Gilbert shortly after that and then a powerplay goal from Wigglesworth in the dying seconds of the game rounded off the scoring and handed Widnes a welcome 2-8 victory.
With the other teams in the play off chase all picking up points at the weekend as well, the league position is incredibly tight. Sutton Sting top the Laidler Division table with 50 points – 4 points ahead of both Hull Jets and Telford Tigers who have 46 each. Widnes are in 4th place, two points behind but they have two games in hand over Telford and they play them away in Shropshire on Sunday in what will be a huge match for both teams.
Before that, the Wild have the relatively short trip to North Wales on Saturday 3rd March when they take on the Deeside Dragons development team at Deeside Leisure Centre – face off 5.45pm.
The RTL-sponsored Widnes Wild are next at home on Sunday 11th March when they play Hull Jets in another crunch encounter at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30pmn and doors open at 4.45.
The Halton Huskies recreational team notched up a sensational 9-7 win in a 16-goal thriller against the Sheffield Ice Tigers on Sunday evening. The game was closely contested throughout and played in fine spirit. The lead changed several times during the course of the game and the result was very much in doubt until the closing moments.
Sunday 25th February 2018 – Laidler Division
Blackburn Hawks N2 2- Widnes Wild 8
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-1, 0-5
Shots on Goal: Blackburn 24 – Widnes 54 (8-16, 6-20, 10-18)
Penalties in Minutes: Blackburn 10 – Widnes 12
Widnes Scoring: Geoff Wigglesworth 2+1, Ollie Barron 2+0, Mikey Gilbert & Nick Manning 1+2, Pavel Vales 1+1, Matty Barlow 1+0, Shaun Dippnall 0+2, Andrew Turner & Stuart Brittle 0+1
Match Officials: David Good – Referee, Wayne Jenkins – Linesman, Stuart Smith – Linesman
Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
Photos by Geoff White – www.gw-images.com
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