Monday 18 March 2024

Match Report: Widnes Wild 4 – Deeside Dragons 5 (Moralee Division)

Flynn Massie was the Wild MVP against Deeside (photo by Steve Cunningham)

Sunday 17th March 2024 – Moralee Division: Widnes Wild 4 – Deeside Dragons 5

The Widnes Wild NIHL team staged a battling fightback in their last home game of the regular season but narrowly lost out 4-5 to local rivals Deeside Dragons at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The game started badly for the Wild as the visitors took the lead on 4 minutes and then doubled the advantage just 20 seconds later.  8 minutes in, it was 0-3 to the Dragons as former Wild import Jakub Hajek scored a shorthanded goal and Widnes looked in serious trouble.  They were outshot by a massive 26 to 4 during this opening period but a combination of solid team defence and resilient netminding from Phil Pearson gradually came to grips with the onslaught and the score remained 0-3 at the first break.

The second period was a lot closer in terms of puck possession and shots on goal and it took until the 33rd minute for the next breakthrough.  This also fell Deeside’s way and they edged further ahead with another short handed goal to make the score 0-4. Widnes finally opened their own account on 35 minutes with a strike from Bailey Thomson and the score remained 1-4 at the second interval.

The third period saw the Wild visibly up their game and the home crowd responded creating a pressure cooker atmosphere around the packed rink. 

Deeside scored again on 45 minutes but Matty Barlow pulled a goal back for Widnes 30 seconds later and the fightback began.  Widnes outshot Deeside by 14 to 8 in this final period and the pressure eventually paid off and the Dragons started picking up niggly penalties.

Powerplay goals from Kyle Carruth on 49 minutes and Flynn Massie on 58 minutes pulled the Wild to within one goal but they ran out of time and the buzzer sounded with the score standing at a frustratingly close 4-5 to the visitors.

The result means that Widnes have set an unwanted record of losing 6 games in a row for the first time in their history, surpassing the 5 consecutive defeats earlier in the season and similar spells back in 2013 and 2019.

They will be keen to buck this unfortunate trend in their last game of the regular Moralee Division schedule this Sunday 24th March when they travel the short distance to North Wales to take on the Dragons again at Deeside Leisure Centre, 5.15pm face off.

Following Sunday’s league finale, the Wild will be in action in the quarter finals of the Moralee Play Offs the weekend after with home and away ties against whichever team finishes second in the league.  Depending on the outcome of the final league games this weekend, that will be either Blackburn Hawks - who are currently occupying the runners-up spot - or Solihull Barons.