MATCH REPORT: Wild 2 – 5 Jets

imageAfter weeks of player shortage, Sunday saw a return of many squad members. A sizeable crowd saw the Stingrays take to the ice in a striking dark green, blue and white uniform.

Spirits were high in the Wild camp, with the team having won in Hull earlier in the season.

Barely had the game begun when Hull took a shock lead. Indecision around the net led to the Humbersiders Andrew Ward firing home inside the first minute. Hull were making their customary high powered start and they dominated the early exchanges with the puck kept in the Widnes end. Hull were taking every opportunity to shoot at Greg Ruxton and his agility and bravery prevented further Hull goals. Gilfoyle, in the Hull net, also made some excellent low saves at the post to prevent Andy Clark and Bobby Caunce opening the Widnes account.

Widnes equalised when on an infrequent attack, Bobby Caunce beat several defenders in a length of the ice move. He managed to force the puck home as the defence closed in. The equaliser brought the crowd to life but prompted a fierce determination from the visitors who mounted a sustained assault on the Widnes goal. Then followed a disastrous three minute spell which effectively took the game away from the home side. Goals in the 27th, 28th and 29th minutes gave Hull domination. Two came from the right wing where smart cross ice passing found a forward free on the edge of the crease. Widnes were outshot by 20 – 6 in a disappointing second period. Their woes were compounded when experienced defenceman Chad Briggs, formerly with Blackburn, was forced out of the game with a dislocated shoulder.

The third period opened with Widnes two men short, serving penalties for indiscipline. The home team spent too much of the game defending short handed, incurring avoidable penalties, when trying to get back into the game. The last ten minutes saw Widnes come back into contention – mounting wave after wave of attack. After Hull had rounded off their scoring, Widnes got a second when newcomer Brad Valentine shot high into the top corner from an accute angle. Chris Preston was awarded the MVP for Widnes for another fiesty and highly competitive performance. Bobby Caunce, Andy Clark and captain Ben Brown all attacked effectively with Hull netminder Gilfoyle denying further Widnes goals.

Despite an abundance of available players, a lack of cohesion due to lack of training together, affected the Widnes performance.Hopefully some errors can be rectified by Mark Gillingham and his coaching team before Sheffield visit Widnes on Sunday 15th of December for a 6.15 face off. Widnes won in Sheffield, so a closely fought exciting game is in prospect.