The game opened at a furious pace with both netminders in early action. Chris Preston broke clear for Wild in the 6th minute and his shot to the top right corner was well saved by Hartley.
Despite some strong attacking, the final shot was letting Widnes down. After sustained pressure Sheffield took a lead at 15.37 - Nathan Britton scoring from close range. The visitors increased their lead on the powerplay at 18.10, Tom Humphries firing home a low shot from the blue line into the bottom left corner.
After Widnes had opened the 2nd period with purpose, Nathan Britton broke clear and fired an unstoppable shot past Greg Ruxton at 23.45. A disastrous three minutes followed with Sheffield scoring three more goals without reply. Widnes called a time out and finally some organisation came into the defensive play. After an altercation behind the Sheffield goal, Widnes finally took advantage of the powerplay for Filip Supa to find the net at 36.19. After some sustained Widnes pressure, Sheffield broke clear on the powerplay and despite Ruxton saving to his left, the puck crept inside the left hand post at 39.51.
In a final penalty-strewn period, Widnes piled constant pressure on the Sheffield net. Despite having a 5 on 3 advantage on several occasions, they couldn’t find a way past netminder Hartley who kept out 23 shots. The monotony was broken when Chris Preston and Joel Aheran dropped the gloves and battled in front of the Sheffield net. In a rare attack on the Widnes net, a speculative shot from Arron Bell beat Greg Ruxton to take the final score to 1 - 8. This was a really disappointing display from the Wild, greatly missing the creative talents of the missing Bobby Caunce.
Report by Dick Gillingham
Photo by Geoff White - www.gw-images.co.uk