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Sprited performance from Widnes Wild ends in defeat
Widnes Wild Ice Hockey team were looking to end their inaugural pre-season fixtures on a high note when they took on Manchester Minotaurs at Silver Blades rink, Widnes.
A bumper crowd was in attendance to witness a highly physical and entertaining encounter which, despite a spirited performance, ended in favour of the newly re-branded away side, 5-8.
After a 6-1 defeat to the hands of another high profile team, Sheffield Spartans, the week before, a repeat seemed to be on the cards as Manchester forward Lukas Zeman scored after only 36 seconds. A good span of possession for Widnes ultimately set Ben Simister through to equalize for the Wild, only to see his well worked goal cancelled out by Zeman at the end of the first period.
Zeman completed his hat trick within the first 4 minutes the second stanza, but a superb effort from veteran attacker Richard Charles kept the Wild within reach, only to see the Minotaurs re-establish their lead through Chris Gee. A debut goal for young forward, and former Manchester player, Tom Ratcliffe ensured Widnes had all to play for as the hooter rang, the second period ending 3-6.
Widnes again struggled at the start of the period, Manchester once again scoring early on through captain Max Drakeley. Possession switched continually over the following minutes, with Widnes' replacement netminder Greg Ruxton pulling off some particularly vital saves. Some further closely fought play followed, which eventually culminated in big defender Calum Ruddick smashing the ball past international netminder Nicole Jackson, bringing Widnes back within 3 of the visiting side. Against the run of play, Zeman netted his fourth but Wild's man of the match Chris Preston got his reward for his tireless performance by closing the scoring 3 minutes from the final hooter.
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