|Rhys Edwards was Wild MVP for his hat trick against Blackburn – photo by Steve Cunningham / Shots by Ste
Saturday 20th January – M56 Cup: Widnes Wild 5 – Blackburn Hawks 7
The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a disappointing weekend, losing both of their home games – 5-7 to Blackburn Hawks in the M56 Cup on Saturday and 3-4 to Hull Jets in the league on Sunday at Planet Ice Widnes.
The Cup game on Saturday started badly for the Wild and they found themselves 0-2 down after 12 minutes. They finally opened their own account on 16 minutes when player coach Joey Coulter picked up a breakaway pass from Rhys Edwards and fired the puck past the Hawks netminder.
A first Widnes goal for Owen Rae on 19 minutes drew the Wild level and the score remained 2-2 at the first period break.
The second period played out in similar vein with Blackburn going ahead once again with a goal on 27 minutes and Rhys Edwards firing in a short handed strike to equalise 4 minutes later. The game remained finely balanced at 3-3 after two periods with plenty to play for in the last 20 minutes.
Blackburn edged ahead again just 90 seconds into the third period but were again pegged back with another Edwards equaliser. A powerplay goal on 48 minutes nosed them ahead once more and another reply from Edwards – for his hat-trick – levelled the score again at 5-5 with 10 minutes left to play.
Former Wild player Adam Barnes scored his own hat trick goal on 54 minutes to put Blackburn back in front again and, shortly afterwards, Widnes were awarded a penalty shot for a trip on Bailey Thomson. Unfortunately, the resulting shot was saved by the Hawks netminder and Widnes went into the last 5 minutes still a goal down.
Widnes called a time out with 90 seconds left and withdrew netminder Luca Tessadri for the last minute in favour of an extra attacker. Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off and Blackburn made sure of the win with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left on the clock.
The MVP awards went to hat-trick hero Rhys Edwards for Widnes and former Wild player Calum Ruddick, who was making his first return to Widnes since his controversial “text-gate” dismissal earlier in the season.