The Widnes Wild NIHL team suffered back to back defeats at the hands of Hull Jets over the weekend, losing 4-2 away on Humberside on Saturday and then 0-5 at home at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Wild went to Hull and back on Saturday to take on the Jets, who are taking part in the Moralee Division for the first time this season.
The two teams have a lot of history, with many exciting games between them in the Laidler Division over the years - including the neck and neck title race in 2019/20 - which was decided in Hull’s favour after the early curtailment of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Further spice was added to this first meeting since 2020 as the Hull team included a number of former Widnes players, including erstwhile Wild player coach Richard Haggar.
Widnes travelled with a short bench again due to long term injuries and other player unavailability and, despite Hull having more of the puck in the first period, out-shooting the Wild by 20 to just 3, the score remained 0-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.
The Jets took the lead on 24 minutes with a goal from another former Wild player, Kieran Beach, and then a Penalty Shot converted by Haggar on 29 minutes doubled the advantage. A third goal for Hull followed 6 minutes later and the score stood as 3-0 at the second period break.
Widnes had a much better third period and a 5 on 3 powerplay handed them their first goal courtesy of Jonathon Williamson on 45 minutes. A goal for Nathan Britton 4 minutes later narrowed the deficit to just one and it looked as if the game could be in for a dramatic finale.
Chances came for both teams but there was no further breakthrough and Widnes called a strategic time out with 3 minutes left to play.
The clock ticked down and Wild netminder Luca Tessadri was removed for the last 40 seconds in favour of an extra attacker – but it was to no avail and Haggar scored an Empty Net Goal for Hull with 18 seconds left.