The DMUK Widnes Wild women put in a battling performance against league leaders Caledonia Steel Queens before ultimately losing out 2-4 in a highly entertaining game at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The showing was all the more impressive as the Wild women were missing several regular players due to illness.
For a “non-checking” women’s game, this was quite a physical encounter but - to their credit – the match officials let the game flow and didn’t keep blowing the whistle for niggly penalties. In fact, Caledonia managed to stay clear of the sin bin all match and Widnes only picked up 6 minutes in total.
After a high octane opening phase, with lots of breathless end to end hockey, the visitors took the lead on 10 minutes but Widnes drew level 5 minutes later with a goal from Victoria Connelly. Caledonia edged into the lead once again with 2 minutes left in the period and took a less than convincing 1-2 lead into the break.
The visitors scored again just two minutes into the second period to put daylight between the teams but Widnes hit back just 45 seconds later with a superb individual breakaway goal from Preston Gennoe to keep themselves in contention.
The clock ticked down, the hockey continued to flow and, just as it looked as if the second period might finish up 1-1, Widnes picked up one of those rare penalties and Caledonia scored on the resulting powerplay with just 50 seconds left to play.
That late blow left a 2-goal deficit to overcome in the third period but the Wild women took to their task with gritty determination. Contrary to all Widnes hopes, the last 20 minutes played out goal-less but stand out performances in every position on the ice still gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about.
Despite being heavily out-shot over the course of the game – by 53 to 16 – Widnes never really looked out of it and a superb performance by Ellie Green in the Wild net meant that she ended up with a better Save % overall than the Caledonia keeper by 92.45% to 87.50%.
The Wild Women’s Most Valuable Player awards for this season have been sponsored by Lucy London - Poet In Residence for the 5th year in a row and consist of goodie bags containing a limited edition MVP teddy bear and a selection of Body Shop products provided by Running Mum Beauty. The awards were presented by match volunteer Callum Rose and went to Caitlyn Monk for Caledonia and Charlotte Cramp for Widnes.
The Wild women have two away games in a row now – away to Grimsby on Saturday 24th February and away to Whitley Bay on Saturday 9th March. They are next at home on Sunday 24th March when they take on the Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.