Last Sunday the Widnes Wild hosted at the Nottingham Lions. Wild were without Michal Fico however Head Coach Scott McKenzie had all his other players available to him.
With just 30 seconds into the contest the first penalty was given to Scott McKenzie and the Lions were on the prowl for the first goal but their hunt was stopped by Greg Ruxton. The Wild followed that up with George Crawshaw’s great steel of the puck, quick speed and determination which saw him go one on one with legendary Lions net minder Alan Levers but ultimately fail to put the Wild ahead. This Wild attempt was quickly followed up by Chris Preston who also went close but again Levers was able to keep the Lions net puck free.
The Lions’ Connor Glossop was their danger man with his quick speed and strength linked to great passes from his team saw him unsuccessfully try to put the puck in the Wild net to give the Lions the lead.
Wild stalwart Ben Brown followed up with his own attack but was unsuccessful due to the agility of an in form Levers. A powerful hit on Scott McKenzie almost broke out into a brawl which was quickly defused by the referees. After twenty minutes of brutal, intense and combative ice hockey with plenty of penalties the game was still goalless although not for the lack of trying.
Starting the second period exactly the same as the first ended, energetic and blood thirsty, three minutes gone and Lions finally manage to find the back of the net thanks to a pinpoint pass from Lions captain Luke Thomas. Unfazed by the Lions scoring and the red light soon burned bright behind the Lions goal sending the Wild fans into ecstasy as Geoff Wigglesworth put Wild back on level terms.
In the final period it was end to end with the Lions decalring their intentions early, forcing Wild legend Greg Ruxton Ruxton into a series of resolute saves. Then, with five minutes gone, the Wild conceded a goal due to a crowded goal mouth that restricted Ruston’s ability to move. Wild fans heats were hearts were then put under huge strain when a mistake left enabled Lions Onorej Pniok to skate free only to be stopped by some incredible physiological play by Kieran Strangeway.
Going in the final part of the final period saw incredible last ditch defending at both ends of the ice with several attempts at goal and the Wild fans were frantic wanting their beloved team to get back on level terms. Things didn’t look to be going to plan as Lions Glossop again found himself one on one with Ruxton who did exceptionally well to keep the puck out.
Then the Wild called for a time out to regroup. Coach McKenize showing a tactical ability beyond his young year, made the necessary changes to enable Wigglesworth to wiggle his way through a crowded Lion goal mouth to score to put Wild back on level terms.
However, the great work was quickly undone when a mistake in the defence allowed Onorej Pniok to hit top corner of net giving the Lions a lead of three goals to two. Now trailing and with a loss of momentum, the Wild tried to regroup after the goal but were unable to tame the Lions and the Wild pulled Ruxton to go with six outfield skaters only to see the last ditch effort fail with the Lions Elliot Perrin hitting a fluke shot to find the empty net, making 4-2 the final score.
Reported by Jess Cowie