The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a difficult weekend on the road in the Moralee Division, losing 5-3 away to Solihull Barons on Saturday and 7-1 to Whitley Warriors on Sunday.
The game on Saturday saw a first visit of the season to Solihull Barons who were sitting in second place in the Moralee Division table after an exceptionally good start to the new campaign. Widnes had a short bench due to a number of key players not being available for the game but their numbers were boosted by the addition of 17 year old Justin Dennison from Peterborough Phantoms.
Despite their numerical disadvantage – with only 12 skaters in their line-up, as opposed to a full bench of 22 for the Barons – the Wild had the better of the first period and goals from Jonathan Williamson on 6 minutes and Mikey Gilbert two minutes later gave them a 0-2 lead at the first break.
The Barons upped their game in the second period and the shots on goal tally began to stack in their favour. The strength in numbers began to have an effect and two home goals on 23 and 31 minutes levelled the score.
Luca Tessadri made numerous saves in the Wild net to keep the Solihull attack at bay but the Widnes defence were forced into taking a number of penalties in the face of mounting pressure.
Solihull edged into the lead for the first time on 34 minutes and a powerplay goal two minutes later gave them a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period, leaving Widnes a lot to do if they were to salvage something from the game.
The period break seemed to disrupt the Barons’ momentum and Widnes managed to pull a goal back through new boy Dennison with 6 minutes left to play. Solihull hit back, however, and restored the two goal advantage with a strike with just 3 minutes to go.
Widnes removed netminder Tessadri for the final minute in favour of an extra attacker in the hope of forcing a late strike but it was to no avail and the Barons took the game 5-3.