Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 6 – Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 2
Period Scores: 2-0, 1-0, 3-2
Penalties In Minutes: Raiders 6 – Seagulls 10
Raiders Scoring: Gez Lewis 3+0, Sam Plant 1+2, Owen Tennant 1+1, Tom Yates 1+0, Adam Murphy, Ben Donkin, Elizabeth Wright all 0+1
The Riverside Raiders consolidated their position at the top of the Summer Classic league table with an impressive 6-2 win over Wyre Seagulls at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.
Following on from their 1-5 win away in Sheffield the previous week, this gives them a 100% start to their campaign in the 5-team league which also includes teams from Sheffield, Grimsby and another team from Blackburn.
The Raiders made a flying start to the game, taking the lead after just 1 minute with a fine strike by Gez Lewis, assisted by Sam Plant. A little under 2 minutes later, it was 2-0 to the Raiders as Lewis, again, picked up a rebound off the Wyre netminder and slotted the puck into the net.
Once they had got over this initial setback, the Wyre Seagulls upped their game and put some impressive plays together themselves. Both teams spent the remainder of the period trying to not to give anything away and the score remained 2-0 at the first break.
The Seagulls looked much better all round in the second period and looked the more likely to score until they started picking up penalties, which broke their momentum and left them shorthanded.
The Raiders scored their third goal at 32.38 – a well taken individual effort by Owen Tennant – and the game looked to be gradually slipping away from the visitors.
The third period started off in much the same vein as the second with the Wyre Seagulls quickest out of the blocks. They thought they had scored their opening goal just 19 seconds from the restart but the referee had already blown the whistle to halt the play before the puck crossed the line.
A 4th goal for the Raiders came at 44.55 as Tom Yates fired in his first goal for the team after some excellent skating around the net by Adam Murphy and it looked as if the home side had this game well and truly in the bag. A powerplay opportunity on a slashing penalty against the Seagulls saw them push forward to try and extend their lead but they were caught out by a Wyre breakaway and the away side scored their first goal, short-handed, to pull the score back to 4-1.
If any nerves had begun to jangle on the home bench at this point, they were quickly dispelled when Gez Lewis scored his hattrick goal – and the Raiders’ 5th - with just under 10 minutes left in the game.
The Raiders thought they had scored again just 2 minutes later when the puck crossed the Wyre goal-line. Unfortunately, the Seagulls netminder also went into the net and, with all the accompanying pushing and shoving around the goal crease, the goal was not allowed.
Less than a minute after that, however, it was pretty much all over as Sam Plant picked up on some great forward passing from Owen Tennant and Elizabeth Wright to score the Raiders’ 6th goal.
The clock ticked down slowly towards the Raiders’ victory but much credit must go to the visitors who put up a battling performance throughout and never gave up for a second. Their tenacity eventually paid off – albeit too late to affect the result -when they scored their second goal of the game with just 2 seconds left in the final period.
The result leaves the Riverside Raiders top of the Summer Classic league table with 4 points from their 2 games so far.
The Raiders are next in action on Saturday 13th May when they travel to the east coast to face the Grimsby Stormers, and their next home game is the following weekend – on Sunday 21st May - when they play Grimsby at Silver Blades Widnes.
Before that, however, the Widnes Wildcats team are in competitive action as they play their first home game in the Summer Cup competition on Sunday 7th May against Cleveland Comets at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.