Monday 29 April 2024

Match Report: DMUK Widnes Wild Women 2 – Sheffield Shadows 2 (WNIHL Div 2N)

Wild Women MVP v Sheffield Natalie Buckles (Photo by Paul Breeze)

Sunday 28th April – WNIHL Div 2N: DMUK Widnes Wild Women 2 – Sheffield Shadows 2

The DMUK Widnes Wild women had to make do with one point instead of two after the Sheffield Shadows snatched a 2-2 draw in a dramatic finish at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

With the Shadows having won the corresponding away game back in November by a single goal, this game was also going to be a close one and it turned out to be one of the tensest encounters seen at the Widnes rink this season.

The Wild women took the lead with a goal from Jemma Brown in the 6th minute and despite numerous chances for both sides, the score remained 1-0 at the first period break.

Sheffield moved up a gear in the second period – outshooting the Wild by more than 2 to 1 - and this pressure was rewarded with an equalised goal in the 24th minute. However, Widnes bounced back and Phoebe Patient edged the Wild Women back in front with just 28 seconds to go in the second period, handing the home side a rather precarious 2-1 lead.

The third period was fascinating to watch with plenty of end to end hockey as the Wild women looked to extend their lead and Sheffield sought to draw level again. The atmosphere around the rink was electrifying and the pressure built up as the clock ticked slowly down.

With two minutes left to play, the period remained goal-less and it looked as if the Wild Women might be able to hang on to their slender lead and record their first home win since January.

But then it all went wrong. A slashing penalty given at 58.26 meant that Widnes, at best, would have to play out the rest of the game a player short. Sheffield called a timeout at this point and replaced their netminder with an extra attacker meaning that Widnes had to defend the ensuing face off in their defensive zone with 4 players against 6.

Although this meant that the Shadows goal was undefended – and a well placed place shot out of defence might have settled the game with an empty net goal - the Wild Women found themselves under so much pressure at their own end that that opportunity never arose.

Sheffield surrounded the Widnes goal, determined to make the most of their two player advantage and the tactic paid off when netminder Ellie Green - clearly unsighted due to the sea of grappling bodies directly in front of her – was beaten by a close range shot with just 27 seconds left to play.

Widnes – now back to full strength after the goal wiped out the penalty – pushed forward to try and snatch a late winner but the clock ran down and the game finished as a 2-2 draw.

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 Anthony Stock and went to Hayley Reynolds for Sheffield and Natalie Buckles for Widnes.

The Wild Women are next in action on Sunday 12th May for their last match of the season when they take on Leeds Roses at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.