The minute's silence before the game at Whitley in memory of Nottingham Panthers #47 Adam Johnson (Photo by Whitley Warriors Ice Hockey Club)
Sunday 29th October – Moralee Division: Whitley Warriors 7 – Widnes Wild 1
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 Sunday away against Whitley was overshadowed by the tragic death of Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson following a freak accident in an Elite League game against Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night. A number of games were called off across the country and games that were played saw acts of reflection and commemoration before the puck drop.
The game saw Widnes travel with a healthier bench than the previous game – icing a full three lines, with Wild NIHL debuts for Wild Academy Under 18 player Luke Alston and young Scottish player Bailey Thomson, on a 2-way deal from Kilmarnock – and, although they had never won in Whitley before, they set manfully about their task.
The Warriors took the lead on 7 minutes and then doubled their advantage with a powerplay strike on 18 minutes to lead 2-0 at the first period break.
Whitley further extended their lead with a third goal on 28 minutes and Wild player coach Joey Coulter eventually fired in a goal for Widnes on 33 minutes and, despite more chances for both sides, the score remained 3-1 at the second period break.
Whitley extended their lead with a 4th goal 2 minutes into the third period and, despite a number of powerplay opportunities for the Wild, added a 5th on 52 minutes.
Two more goals followed late in the game - on 58 and 59 minutes – to give the Warriors a 7-1 victory, albeit making the result seem a little more one-sided than it actually was.
Wild netminder Luca Tessadri put in another heroic performance in the Widnes goal to keep the score down – turning away an impressive 53 of the 60 shots that he faced over the 60 minutes - and was rewarded for his efforts by a second MVP award for the weekend, after having also received that same honour in the Solihull game the night before.
The Wild are away to Hull Jets this Saturday 4th November and are next at home when they play the same opposition the day after on Sunday 5th November at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.
The Wild Junior Academy have two home games this Saturday 4th November at Planet Ice Widnes. The Under 16 team take on Billingham U16s in a 4.20pm face off game and the Under 18B team face Grimsby U18s straight afterwards.
Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.