Monday 25 March 2024

Match Report: Deeside Dragons 6 – Widnes Wild 1 (Moralee Division)

Jake Lowndes played his first full game in goal for Widnes – photo by Peter Sheffield / PSD Images

The Widnes Wild NIHL team rounded off their regular season league schedule with a 6-1 defeat away to Deeside Dragons on Sunday evening.

The prospect of finishing off the season with back to back derby games against local rivals Blackburn and Deeside might have looked quite appealing when the fixture list was being put together back in August but it has all become a bit of a nightmare for the Wild as they now find themselves on the wrong end of a 7-game losing streak.

They actually put up a good fight against the Dragons – at some times literally – but were unable to make the most of their chances when they arrived.

It took until the 5th minute of the game for the first goal and that fell to Deeside, who doubled their advantage on 13 minutes to take a 2-0 lead into the first period break.

A third Deeside goal on 25 minutes was followed by a fourth and the Dragons looked well in control by this stage. However, the home side started to pick up niggly penalties and Widnes had a number of powerplay opportunities - including a brief 5-on-3.  Unfortunately, they were unable to make any of them count and Deeside further extended their lead with a 5th goal on 36 minutes.

Former Wild player, now Dragon, Joe Greaves picked up a 5+game penalty for an incident at the end of the 2nd period and this handed the Wild a 5 minute powerplay at the start of the third but, here again, they were unable to make the extra man advantage count in front of goal.

The Widnes duck for the night was eventually broken 42 seconds after the end of the powerplay when Jonathan Williamson fired in a Joey Coulter pass to finally give the travelling Wild fans something to cheer about.

Shortly after this, some pressure was relieved around the rink as a couple of skirmishes broke out on the ice, which resulted in Wild’s Kyle Carruth and Owen Rae and a couple of Dragons sitting out fighting penalties in the sin bin.  

The game calmed down again after this and the match edged towards its inevitable conclusion.  A 6th goal for Deeside on 56 minutes by former Wild import Jakub Hajek rounded off the scoring for the game.

Following the final weekend of games in the Moralee Division, the final positions in the league table have now been established and the pairings for the Play Off quarter finals are all confirmed.

Solihull Barons finish as runners up in the table after a 5-3 victory over Blackburn Hawks who have to be content with finishing 3rd.  Deeside Dragons finish in a highly creditable 4th place. This is important because the playoff quarter finals match up the team finishing 1st with the team finishing 8th, 2nd playing 7th, 3rd playing 6th and 4th playing 5th.

With Widnes having finished in 7th place in the final Moralee Division table, they will now take on Solihull Barons in the quarter final which will be played over two legs this weekend – Saturday and Sunday 30th and 31st March.  The winners of the 4 quarter final ties will qualify for the Finals Weekend that is to be held at iceSheffield over the weekend of 6th and 7th April.