Wild Take The Sting Out Of Sutton
Ollie Barron scores the third goal for the Wild against Sutton Sting
The RTL sponsored Widnes Wild faced their toughest test to date in the new NIHL North Division 2 (Laidler) season and passed with flying colours with a 6-4 victory over Sutton Sting on Sunday night at Silver Blades Widnes.
The Sting have been touted as potential title contenders this season after having spent the past 5 campaigns up in the North 1 Moralee division before opting to drop down to the Laidler this time around and their squad was packed with players with higher league experience.
Widnes opened the game the strongest, however, and outshot Sutton by 26 to 11 during the first period but despite this, it was the Sting who scored the first goal after 8 minutes. Wild’s Latvian import Elvis Veldze levelled the scores 3 minutes later but Sutton scored again on 13 minutes – this time a powerplay goal while Wild player coach Ollie Barron was in the penalty box for a slashing penalty.
The lead did not last long, however, as the Wild were level again within 40 seconds as Mikey Gilbert fired in a superb effort – his 4th goal in as many games since joining Widnes for the new season – and the score remained at 2-2 at the first period break.
The Wild came out firing on all cylinders for the second period and scored within 18 seconds of the restart with Stuart Brittle finding the back of the net. Two more goals quickly followed from Ollie Barron and Bobby Caunce to put the Wild firmly in the lead at 5-2 with just 24 minutes gone on the clock.
Sutton called a 30 second time-out at this point in an attempt to dampen the Wild’s head of steam, after having conceded 3 goals in less than 4 minutes, and it worked because they hit back with a shorthanded goal on 28 minutes and another strike some 90 seconds later to pull themselves right back into the game.
They was no more scoring during the second period and the Wild picked up a few defensive penalties as they battled to keep the, by now, resurgent Sting in check.
The game was finely balanced at 5-4 heading into the third period and it really could have gone either way at that point. Widnes nerves were settled somewhat with a goal from after 45 minutes to give the Wild a 2- goal cushion but the visitors battled hard and never looked out of contention.
The was an unfortunate incident in the last minute of the game against the boards that saw a Sutton player handed a 2+10 minute penalty for checking from behind and Wild’s Mikey Gilbert 2+2+2 for roughing in the aftermath. It was all too late to affect the result though and the final score of 6-4 to the Wild means that they remain top of the North 2 Laidler table with 4 wins from their 4 games to date.
The Wild have no game next weekend and travel to play Sheffield Senators at iceSheffield on Saturday 30th September. They are next at home on Sunday 1st October when they face the Blackburn Hawks N2 team at Silver Blades Widnes in a 5.30 pm face off.
Sunday 17th September 2017 – NIHL North Division 2 (Laidler)
Widnes Wild 6 – Sutton Sting 4
Period Scores: 2-2, 3-2, 1-0
Shots on Goal: Widnes 54 – Sutton 46 (26-11, 17-20, 11-15)
Penalties in Minutes: Widnes 16 – Sutton 22
Widnes Scoring: Ollie Barron 2+1, Elvis Veldze & Bobby Caunce both 1+1, Mikey Gilbert & Stuart Brittle both 1+0, Nick Manning 0+3, Simon Offord 0+2, Ken Armstrong 0+1
Match Officials: Richard Fraley – Referee, Emma Sanders & Simon Clark – Linesmen