Wild Up To Second In League After 4-Point Weekend
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild moved up to second place in the Laidler Division table after a 4-point weekend that saw them win away at Sheffield on Saturday before beating league leaders Bradford Bulldogs in the most dramatic of fashions at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The trip to Sheffield was the return fixture to the first game of the season that had seen a very close encounter in Widnes with the Wild only just managing a 4-3 win. This game was also very closely matched with the Shots on Goal coming out at 40 to 45 overall but this time the Wild made more of their chances in front of goal.
They led 2-3 at the end of the first period but then hit three unanswered goals to lead 3-6 before the home team managed to fire their third goal of the game at 51.24. A 7th goal for Widnes – a first goal for new signing Ross Jordan – scored with just 80 seconds left on the clock, rounded off the scoring for the night and gave the Wild their second win in two starts.
Jakub Hajek top scored with 3 goals and 1 assist, Mikey Gilbert contributed 1+3, Michal Novak 1+1, player coach Ollie Barron 0+3 and another new signing, Daniel Fay, also scored his first goal for the club.
On Sunday night, the Wild welcomed league leaders Bradford Bulldogs to Planet Ice Widnes. The Bulldogs have had a really impressive start to the season and they had beaten Altrincham Aces 5-1 on Saturday night so a tough game was anticipated.
Bradford actually opened the scoring on 11 minutes but the lead didn’t last long as Chris Gee equalised for the Wild just 60 seconds later. The score remained 1-1 at the first break but then a 3-1 second period – with goals from Jakub Hajek, Danny Bullock and Tom Jackson looked to have put the Wild in control of the game. However, two goals early in the third period put Bradford right back in the mix and, for the last 10 minutes, the result really could have gone either way.
Mikey Gilbert edged the Wild back in front with a goal at 50.09. Bradford equalised just two minutes later and then went ahead again a minute after that.
The game was played on a knife edge for the next 5 minutes as another Bradford goal would have probably handed them the win while the Wild were desperately trying to force another equaliser. The decisive goal came with just 1.44 left on the clock as Mikey Gilbert’s strike levelled the score and sent the game into sudden death over time.
The atmosphere around the rink was electric and there was still a sense of “anything could happen” as the extra 5 minute period commenced. Luckily, the Wild faithful were spared some 4 minutes and 30 seconds of potential nerve jangling agony as Czech import Jakub Hajek made a great breakaway and scored the golden goal with just 25 seconds played in the period.
The crowd erupted, Widnes took the win and Bradford had to settle for a single point for the overtime loss.
After the game, player coach Ollie Barron said:
“A great weekend for the Wild, gaining 4 points. On Saturday we faced a hard working Sheffield side. We started OK, but allowed Sheffield back in twice after going ahead.”
“In the second and third periods, I felt we were much more composed and controlled most of the game. All 3 lines played their part in a good road performance to pick up the win.”
“On Sunday we welcomed the Bradford Bulldogs, who are always a hard working aggressive team. The Bulldogs have a great roster this year and I expect them to challenging at the top of the league. It was a close hard fought game and at 4-2 up maybe we could have took more of our chances and killed of the game.”
“But credit to Bradford – they worked hard and got back in front but what pleased me the most was the determination and hard team work to grab a late equaliser and to win it in overtime. This was a great advert for our league in front of a packed crowd.”
“We travel to Telford next Saturday, to face a Tigers team who had 2 impressive wins this weekend. I hope to see as many Wildones making the trip to cheer on the team.”
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild travel to play Telford Tigers next Saturday 29th September and then are away to Hull Jets the following Saturday 6th October. The next home game is on Sunday 7th October when they take on the Blackburn Hawks development team at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30pm face off.