The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a mixed weekend, losing 3-4 at home to Solihull Barons on Sunday and then dramatically winning in a penalty shootout away to Sheffield Scimitars on Sunday.
The preparations for the weekend’s games had been overshadowed by the controversial release of two players - Calum Ruddick and Jack Murray - with the decision being criticised by some fans, coming at a time when the team has been struggling in terms of consistency and manpower for certain matches.
Fortunately, despite the departures, the Wild were able to ice a healthy bench for Saturday’s game, albeit being bolstered by a number of players on 2-way deals with other clubs, with extra spice being added to the game with former Widnes import Dani Haid returning to Widnes for the first time since joining the Barons in the summer.
This game was evenly matched, very entertaining to watch and the result could have gone either way until the dying seconds. After a very tense opening spell – with numerous chances for both sides - Widnes took the lead with a goal from Mikey Gilbert with just 90 seconds left in the first period making the most of a powerplay on a Solihull tripping call.
The Barons levelled the score just 90 seconds after the restart with a powerplay goal of their own but Widnes edged back into the lead on 27 minutes with a goal from Kyle Carruth. The score remained at a finely balanced 2-1 to Widnes with one period left to play and both teams still having all to play for.
A Wild goal from Bez Hughes two minutes into the third period put daylight between the teams for the first time and there were hopes that Widnes might start to pull away. Unfortunately, a disastrous spell around the 50 minute mark saw them concede two goals within 38 seconds of each other, which saw the Barons draw level.
A further goal for Solihull on 54 minutes put them into the lead for the first time and Widnes threw everything forward to try and salvage something from the game. The Wild withdrew netminder Luca Tessadri for the final 30 seconds in favour of an extra attacker but they were unable to make the most of the man advantage and the game finished 3-4 to Solihull.