Monday 19 February 2024

Match Report: Blackburn Hawks 9 - Widnes Wild 0 (M56 Cup)

Saturday 17th February – M56 Cup: Blackburn Hawks 9 - Widnes Wild 0

The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a disappointing - and winless – weekend, losing 9-0 away to north west rivals Blackburn Hawks in the M56 Cup on Saturday and then crashing 2-5 to league strugglers Nottingham Lions in the Moralee Division at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday. 

The Cup game on Saturday actually started quite well for the Wild and they gave as good as they got in the early stages.  It took until the very last minute of the opening period for the first breakthrough of the match and that fell to Blackburn with just 8 seconds left on the clock, giving them a narrow 1-0 lead at the first break.

The second period continued in similar vein with chances at both ends and Blackburn eventually struck again in the 29th minute to double their lead.

There then followed a disastrous spell for the Wild as they conceded a further 6 unanswered goals to trail 8-0 at the second interval.  With the game clearly well out of reach by that point – and the likelihood of the Wild overturning the 2 goal group deficit nigh on impossible – both teams eased off in the third period and a further goal for Hawks with 8 minutes to play proved to be the last of the game.

The result meant that Blackburn could not be overtaken at the top of the M56 Cup table, irrespective of what happens in their last group game against Deeside, and they were able to celebrate winning their first piece of silverware since 2016.

The shut-out was the Wild’s fourth of the campaign – an unwelcome record in their otherwise mainly illustrious 11 year history to date - and their second against the Hawks this season.  One bright spot in an otherwise disappointing night for the Wild was a debut appearance in goal of 16 year old Scotland Under 19 netminder Logan Reid for the second half of the game as he took over from Phil Pearson in a tactical change on 36 minutes.