|Photo by CJ O'Shea|
The Elks had finished second in the B Competition qualifying group stage with two wins from their three games, with the only defeat coming against the Thunder who topped the group with three wins from three.
The final was incredibly close with the Elks taking the lead after just 3 minutes and then having to defend against waves of Thunder attacks, picking up several penalties and, at one point, having three players in the penalty box at once.
The Altrincham-based Thunder team finally managed to equalise, setting up a thrilling last few minutes during which the result could easily have gone either way. Then, with the prospect of a penalty shoot-out looming, the Elks broke away and fired in the winning goal with just seconds left on the clock.
The tournament victory represents a huge success for the Widnes rink’s least experienced team which only began playing competitive games earlier this year.
The other Widnes team in the B group, the Halton Huskies, finished 3rd overall with 1 win from their 3 games beating bottom team Coventry Centurions before losing to both the Thunder and Elks.
In a separate competition held at the same time, the Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team had a difficult time, playing with a reduced roster and losing all four of their group games.
The A Competition - which was for more experienced teams - was dominated by the Coventry Snipers, a team made up mainly of Czech and Slovak players who are now living in England, who won all four of their group games, conceding just 1 goal while scoring 28.
The Snipers beat second place Altrincham Jets 6-0 in a slightly one-sided final and the Deeside–based Flintshire Phantoms beat Blackpool Seagulls 4-1 to secure third place.
The next competitive ice hockey game at Planet Ice Widnes is on Sunday 29th July when the Riverside Raiders take on the Kingston City Knights in their final home group game of the Summer Classic Cup competition. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.