The Widnes Wild NIHL team put in two superb performances to register their first 4 point weekend of the season with a 5-3 home win against Solihull Barons on Saturday and a 2-5 away win over Deeside Dragons on Sunday.
Sunday’s opponents – fierce local rivals Deeside - were third in the Moralee Division table before the weekend’s games and riding on the crest of a 3 –game winning streak, having also won the only league meeting of the season so far against Widnes back in December.
Matches between the Wild and the Dragons are always passionately fought feisty affairs due to the close proximity of the two venues and a regular interchange of players between the teams over the years and this was no exception with a string of minor penalties affecting both sides throughout.
Widnes took the lead on 3 minutes when Matty Barlow fired in a powerplay goal punishing an early Deeside slashing penalty but the Dragons fought back to equalise 4 minutes later.
The Wild were in front again on 11 minutes when a blueline shot from Rhys Edwards cannoned down off the cross bar and dropped across the goal-line and despite further chances for both teams, the score remained 1-2 at the first period break.
A goal from Kyle Carruth edged Widnes further ahead on 23 minutes but Deeside pulled a goal back some 12 minutes later on a powerplay while that same player was sitting out an interference call. This left the score standing at an “anybody’s game” 2-3 with one period left to play.
The third period was very tense and close-fought as both teams threw everything they had into trying to secure the result.
It took until the 50th minute for the next breakthrough and that fell to Rhys Edwards who slotted away a shorthanded goal to give the Wild a 2-4 lead with 10 minutes left to play.
Deeside withdrew their netminder in favour of an extra attacker for the last minute in the hope of forcing a late goal but Mikey Gilbert made sure of the win for Widnes with an empty net goal struck from his own defensive zone with just 20 seconds left on the clock.
This was the first time that Wild have picked up 4 points in a single weekend all season and, indeed, only the second time that they have won two games in a row.
They will be hoping to extend this run with two home games at the weekend at Planet Ice Widnes – against Blackburn Hawks in the M56 Cup on Saturday 20th January, face off 7pm – and Hull Jets in the league on Sunday, 5.30pm start.