Tuesday 18 April 2023

Match Report: Connah's Quay Cobras (Deeside) 4 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes ) 8

The Riverside Raiders won the Summer Classic Cup play off title in 2017 (Photo by Chris Johnstone)

Sunday 16th April 2023 – Challenge Match:

Connah’s Quay Cobras (Deeside) 4 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 8

Period Scores 2-3, 1-2, 1-3

Shots on Goal: Cobras 51 - Raiders 41

Penalties In Minutes:  Cobras 8 - Raiders 6 

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders got their preparations for the 2023 Ice Hockey Summer Classic Cup series under way with a 4-8 win away to Connah’s Quay Cobras in Deeside on Sunday. 

The team for Sunday’s game saw the welcome return of familiar faces such as Adam Jenkins, Ben Donkin, Mike Teinert and Eemeli Vuorihovi and the addition of former Widnes Wild women’s captain Emma Pearson, erstwhile Wild netminder Ian Thirkettle and graduates from the Wild Junior Academy Rory Sillery and Alain Barthelemy, among others.

The Connah’s Quay team also featured an interesting mix of youth, rec and experience including former Deeside Dragons league players Kenny Williams, Scott Egerton and Sam Krempasky, ex Riverside Raider and Bradford Bulldog Gez Evans and former Manchester Phoenix women’s players Cath Thornton and Emma Dutton - so it was a really good test for the Raiders side.

The Raiders took the lead with just 28 seconds on the clock with a goal from Rory Sillery and further strikes from Kai Gennoe and Adam Jenkins saw them leading 0-3 after 6 minutes.

The Cobras hit back with two goals of their own to go into the first break at 2-3 down and then score again 90 seconds into the second period to level the score.

Two goals for the Raiders – from David Geroc on 36 minutes and Eemeli Vuorihovu just 45 seconds later - put them back in control and the score stood at 3-5 after two periods.

The third period saw the Raiders edge further ahead with goals from Andrew Birch on 53 minutes and Gennoe, again, on 56 and a hat-trick strike from Gennoe just 14 seconds later put the visitors 3-8 up with just over 3 minutes left on the clock.

The Cobras fired in one last goal 11 seconds after that – a hat trick goal for Sam Krempasky – and that rounded off the scoring for the game.

The Raiders 2023 Summer Classic Cup campaign gets under way on Saturday 29th April when they take on the Hull Knights at Planet Ice Widnes, 6pm face off.

This year’s Ice Hockey Summer Classic tournament sees 16 teams from across the north of England competing in 4 groups of 4, playing each other home and away. The top teams in each group will meet in a championship play off weekend in Sheffield later in the summer. 

The full Riverside Raiders 2023 Cup fixtures are:

29th April: home v Hull Knights

7th May: home v Halton Huskies

3rd June: away @ Hull Knights

10th June: home v Blackburn Buccaneers

25th June: away @ Blackburn Buccaneers

1st July: away @ Halton Huskies

The two games against the Halton Huskies should be especially entertaining as both teams are based at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes.


Saturday 8 April 2023

Telford Win Laidler Playoffs At Widnes

Widnes Wild players Adam Jasecko (Hull #24) and Evan Coles (Aces #39) in action at the Laidler Playoffs (Photo by Fiona Haggar)

The Planet Ice rink in Widnes played host to the Laidler Division Play Off finals weekend for the 4th time in a row and saw Telford Tigers coming away with the title.

Most neutral observers had expected recently crowned league champions Hull Jets to win the Play Offs for a second year in a row and repeat the achievements of Solihull Barons who won hitherto unmatched back to back league and play off doubles in 2013 and 2014 and Widnes Wild who won three Play Off finals in a row in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  However, this time it was the team that finished second in the league that took the honours, mirroring the situation last season when the two sides fortunes were reversed.    

The two semi-finals - played on the Saturday – went pretty much to league form, with league champions Hull beating 4th place finishers Altrincham Aces 9-1 and league runners up Telford seeing off 3rd place Sutton Sting 4-3.

Although Widnes Wild no longer play in this division, the Hull game had plenty of interest for local fans as the Jets team included former Wild players  Tom Brierley, Boris Giba, Kieran Beach, Ryan Kemp and Richard Haggar as well as two current Wild players – Kohen Taylor and Adam Jasecko who also play at Hull on a 2-way deal.

The Aces team featured former Wild players Sam Dunford, Sarah Hutchinson and CJ Ashton and current 2-way netminder Evan Coles.

The final on the Sunday saw Hull take on the Telford team that they had already beaten 3 times out of 4 during the league season so it was quite a surprise when the Tigers took a 0-3 lead into the first period break.

The second period played out goal-less but Telford extended their lead with 3 more goals in the third period before Hull finally found the back of the net themselves with a consolation strike from Haggar on 57 minutes.  This was only the Jets’ 3rd defeat all season and broke a run of 18 consecutive wins stretching back to December.

North West Lions In Czech Tournament

North West Lions' Adam Wrixon puts the Nijmegen netminder under pressure at the Benesov tournament (Photo by Jiří Bošek) 

The North West Lions team brought a lot of positives back from their first overseas trip after taking part in the international tournament at Benesov in the Czech Republic, where the representative team –which is made of players from teams that play at Widnes, Altrincham, Deeside and Blackburn – came up against opposition from Slovakia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the host nation.

The Lions team was originally formed in 2020 but the Covid lockdowns and subsequent foreign travel restrictions made it logistically impossible for them to take part in previous overseas tournaments so this venture was pretty much a step into the unknown.

It turned out to be quite a baptism of fire for the Lions as they lost all 4 of their 4 “Group A” games - 2-10 to HK Atlantis Zvolen from Slovakia, 13-0 to Kokory Foxes from the Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 7-1 to HC AHL from České Budělovice and 1-5 to HC Jonny Lugano from Switzerland.

In the play off game, where teams from Group A met teams from Group B in order to decide final tournament placings, they had a much closer game against Dutch team Chihuahuas Nijmegen – largely matching them in terms of puck possession and shots on goal before eventually losing out 2-8. This meant that the Lions finished in 10th place out of 10 but they certainly grew as a team as the tournament went on, gained a huge amount of experience - and made a lot of new friends!  

Adam Wrixon ended the tournament as the Lions top scorer with 4 goals and 1 assist, Luke Stone had 1+2, Adam Lappin 1+0 and Andy Way 0+2.

Netminder Mike Welch was kept pretty busy in the Lions net, facing 106 shots over the 5 games and ending up with a 71.14% Save Percentage.

The full North West Lions squad for the tournament was Mike Welch (netminder), Adam Lappin, Thomas Quigley, Josh Grocutt, Marc Taylor (defence) and Andy Way, Adam Wrixon, Chris Preston, David McMullan, Chris Alker, Luke Stone (forwards).

Josh Grocutt - who has previously played league hockey with Widnes Wild, Solent & Gosport Stars and Oxford City Stars said of the trip: 

“We went into the tournament with high expectations but soon learnt the level was a lot higher then we had anticipated, however it brought together 12 strangers who don’t normally play together and now have a strong hockey bond. I am definitely looking forward to going again, knowing what we need next time to compete.”

North West Lions Benesov Tournament Schedule:

Friday 31st March (9am)

North West Lions 2 - HK Atlantis Zvolen (Slo) 10 

Period Scores: 2-10, 0-0

Shots On Goal: Lions 10 – Zvolen 18

Penalties In Minutes: Lions 0 - Zvolen 6 

Lions scoring: Wrixon 1+1, Stone 1+2

Netminder: 18 shots / 10 goals (64.29%)

Friday 31st March (4pm)  - Group A

Kokory Foxes (CZE) 13 – North West Lions 0 

Period Scores: 6-0, 7-0

Shots On Goal: Foxes 27 - Lions 13

Penalties In Minutes: Foxes 0 - Lions 2 (Grocutt 2 - slashing) 

Netminder: 27 shots / 13 goals (67.50%)

Saturday 1st April (4.30pm) – Group A

HC AHL České Budělovice (CZE) 7 – North West Lions 1.

Period Scores: 2-0, 5-1

Shots On Goal: AHL 17 - Lions 5

Penalties In Minutes: AHL 0 - Lions 4 (Grocutt 2 – slashing, Lappin 2 - kneeing) 

Lions Scoring: Wrixon 1+0, Way 0+1

Netminder: 17 shots / 7 goals (70.83%)

Sunday 2nd April (9am) – Group A

North West Lions 1 - HC Jonny Lugano (CH) 5

Period Scores: 0-3, 1-2

Shots On Goal: Lions 16 – Lugano 23

Penalties In Minutes:  Lions 4 (Stone 2, unsportsmanlike conduct, Stone 2 – interference)

Lions Scoring: Wrixon 1+0, Way 0+1 

Netminder: 23 shots / 5 goals (82.14%)

Sunday 2nd April (11.20am) - 9th v10th Play Off 

North West Lions 2 - Chihuahuas Nijmegen (NL) 8

Period Scores: 1-3,1 –5

Shots On Goal: Lions 21- Chihuahuas 21

Penalties In Minutes: M 0-0

Lions Scoring: Lappin 1+0, Wrixon 1+0, Stone 0+1

Netminder: 21 shots / 8 goals (72.41%)

You can find out more about Yellow Hockey and their future tournaments on their website at: www.yellowhockeygames.com