|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.