|Goal mouth action from Widnes Wild's win over Coventry Blaze|
Photo by Geoff White (www.gw-images.co.uk)
The term “a game of two halves” is usually attributed to football but this match was pretty much game of two halves as well – even thought it was, obviously, played over the customary three 20 minute thirds.
With Widnes Wild having already beaten Coventry 0-6 on their own ice and the Blaze having only scored 3 goals in their 4 - winless - games to date, this game really looked like being a simple formality – at least on paper.
On ice it was a completely different kettle of fish and, for the first period you couldn’t really tell which side had enjoyed the better start to the season. Coventry looked very well organised, defended well and looked dangerous going forward. But, what do you expect? They now have former Chicago Blackhawks NHL draftee, reclassified import, former GB International Ian Pound - a veteran of over 300 top class games in the UK dating back to the British League period as head coach for this season - so things would have to improve.
OK - Widnes had their chances as well but they didn’t really seem to stamp as much authority on the game as one might have expected and then shock horror – Coventry took the lead.
With the scoreline still at 0-1 heading towards the break, Lucy suggested that we might have to come up with a headline using the term “Coventry Climax”. My somewhat fertile imagination started running away with all sorts of visions of West Midlands sex shops and the like until she reminded me that this was, in fact, the name of a famous engineering company that used to make engines for Formula 1 cars in the 50s and 60s. We then spent most of the first break looking up the history of this fascinating company on my phone – which you can now read about HERE
Most ice hockey games that I have been to tend to have a certain game changing moment that usually comes in the second period. I don’t why it happens then - but it just does. The game changing moment on this occasion was the 28th minute. Prior to the 28th minute, Coventry had been leading and Widnes had huffed and puffed without really achieving anything. Then came two goals 39 seconds apart and it was “game over”. I didn’t actually see the second goal because I was busy writing a note about the first one when it went in.
Coventry had no reply to offer and, by the end of the second period, it was 4-1 to the Wild - and my concerns about concocting a Coventry Climax related headline were gladly diminishing.
A 5th goal right at the start of the third period from player coach Scott McKenzie – the first strike of the night at our end of the ice – settled any remaining doubts as to how this game was going to go and then a well taken short-handed goal towards the end wrapped up the scoring.
This was a very pleasurable game to watch all round – and the various break time entertainments such as the two girls giving an ice dancing demonstration and, later on, the Chuck a Duck competition all help to make match night at Widnes a fun experience for all the family.
Incidentally: I have to say that this was one of the quickest finishing games that I have ever seen. The first 7 minutes ran through almost without stopping the clock at all and the first period was over in easily less than half an hour. The match had finished by 7.40 (having started at 5.30) and I can only assume that somebody was in a hurry to watch the rugby or something…