Monday 15 May 2017

Wildcats Outfoxed As Falcons Swoop

Sunday 14th May 2017 – Summer Cup
Widnes Wildcats 2 – Blackburn Falcons 8
Period Scores:  1-4, 1-3, 0-1
Penalties In Minutes: tba
Widnes Scoring:  tba

The Widnes Wildcats put in a battling performance in their Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday but unfortunately ended up on the wrong end of a 2-8 scoreline at the hands of the Blackburn Falcons.

While the defeat may be disappointing, the Wildcats can take heart from the fact that they were up against a team bristling with former Blackburn Hawks and Blackburn Eagles / Lancashire Raptors national league players and that, despite the eventual scoreline, they actually matched them play for play for extended periods of the game.

As it turned out, the Wildcats actually took the lead after just 80 seconds of play after the puck took an unfortunate deflection off a Blackburn player’s skate and looped past the netminder into the goal.

The lead lasted until the 9th minute when the Falcons’ mounting pressure eventually paid off and they went on to score two more quick goals to lead 1-3 by the 12th minute.

The Wildcats called a 30-second time out following this and it helped break up the Falcons momentum and give the home side chance to reorganise. They held firm for a good five minutes and were only caught out at the back when pushing up for a second goal while on a powerplay, leaving the score at the end of the first period at 1-4 to the visitors.

The second period started badly for the Wildcats and three more goals put the Falcons 1-7 ahead by the mid-point of the game. Things began to get a bit physical and a Falcons’ player was sent to the penalty box.  The Wildcats were pushing forward to make the most of their man advantage when the puck took an unfortunate ricochet off a player’s stick and flew into the crowd. The match officials – who, otherwise, did a very good job all game – mysteriously decided to call the Wildcats’ player for “delaying the game”. 

It was somewhat unclear as to why they might have thought that a player from a team that was losing 1-7 and was on the attack on a powerplay might suddenly choose the delay the game but he was duly banished to the penalty box, thus denying the home team the man advantage.     

This incident provoked a notable phase of the game where the Wildcats were constantly under pressure and kept picking up minor penalties while trying to keep the Falcons at bay. They were forced to play 3 against 5 for the next 5 minutes or so and actually seemed to fare better while sitting back and concentrating on defending.

The Falcons thought they had scored again on 32 minutes but the goal was disallowed as it had come from a high stick and, once the various Widnes penalties had elapsed, they managed to get on the scoresheet again themselves to make the score 2-7.

The last 5 minutes of the second period were goalless and it took right up until the 55th minute of the game before the goal lamp was lit again – with Blackburn scoring their first goal since the 28th minute and rounding off the action for the match.   

The Widnes Wildcats’ next game is on Sunday 28th May when they face Solihull Vikings at Silver Blades Widnes.  It is a later than normal face off time – 8.30pm – because of the Riverside Raiders game against Sheffield beforehand which faces off at 4.30pm. Admission to both games is free so why not make an evening of it and enjoy some great competitive ice hockey…?