Monday 15 February 2016

Deeside Dragons Win Laidler Conference Title

Photo by Peter Sheffield -
The first league title of the 2015/16 season was decided last night as Deeside Dragons picked up a 7-7 draw away at nearest neighbours and second-placed contenders Widnes Wild to secure the NIHL North 2 Laidler Conference crown for the first time.

A huge crowd of over 700 watched a thrilling game that saw the Wild take a 3-1 lead into the first break only to be overhauled by the title chasing Dragons who made it 4-5 after two periods.  A 3-2 period for the Wild with the GTG goal coming with just over a minute to go left the nerves on edge and Dragons’ fans reaching for their calculators to see if the result was enough to hand them the title.

Before the game, most of the talk had been about the Dragons needing to win to secure their first league crown since 1994 (Flintshire Freeze won the ENL North title in 2004) but little thought had been given to the effect that a draw would have on the league standings what with a draw being a comparatively rare result in an ice hockey match.

As it turned out, the shared points mean that the Dragons cannot be overtaken by Widnes and are now confirmed as Laidler Conference champions.

Widnes are favourites to take second place and contest the home and away Promotion Play Off game with whoever finishes second from bottom in the Moralee Conference but they are still looking over their shoulders as third place team Nottingham Lions – who won 1-2 away at Altrincham Aces last night - could still catch them.