WIDNES Wild maintained their position at the top of National Ice Hockey League North Laidler Division Two after an eventful weekend.

Hull Jets had temporarily leapfrogged Wild and moved back to the top of the of the table on Saturday night following their penalty-shot win at Bradford Bulldogs and, with both teams locked together on 32 points from 21 games, the winner would end the weekend in top spot.

That proved to be Wild as they came through 5-1.

The importance of the game showed in a tense first period with Wild narrowly out-shooting Jets by 11- 9 but neither team managed to find the back of the net.

The breakthrough came after six minutes of the second stanza when Nick Manning picked up a rebound off the Hull netminder and fired Wild into the lead.

A further six minutes later Shaun Dippnall doubled the advantage, squeezing the puck around the post and past several defenders to give Widnes an important 2-0 lead heading into the last period.

The hosts out-shot Wild in both the second and third segments but Matt Croyle was a rock in goal and the Widnes defence battled hard to keep Jets’ attack at bay.

Nick Manning scored his second goal of the game – and Wild’s third – after 47 minutes and two more goals from Ollie Barron and Manning, again, for his hat-trick, gave Widnes an unassailable lead.

The latter stages of the game included a number of scuffles between the two sides which saw three Wild players sent to the penalty box, while two Hull players were also directed to the cooler.

“We have another two big games this weekend, away in Sheffield to face the Sting, which is another difficult game, and then home to Bradford, who have proven they work hard after taking points from us before Christmas,”said Widnes head coach Ollie Barron.

Wild meet the Sting, one of the pre-season title favourites, for the fourth and final time this Saturday at iceSheffield, 4.30pm face off. Wild came out on top in the three previous meetings, twice in regular time and once in overtime.

Sunday’s home clash with Bradford Bulldogs at Silver Blades Widnes is a 5.30pm start.