WIDNES Wild had to come from behind before storming to an impressive 5-9 win away to local rivals Deeside Dragons on Sunday. The victory is the Wild’s third from their three encounters this season so far, writes Paul Breeze

After a tense opening phase, Deeside opened the scoring in the 10th minute but a short handed goal from Wild player coach Ollie Barron levelled the score just 60 seconds later. The Dragons certainly looked the better side in the first period, though, and two more goals handed them a 3-1 lead at the first period break.

Widnes were quicker out of the blocks in the second period, however, and Ollie Barron pulled a goal back just 31 seconds from the restart. Lee Kemp fired in the equaliser in the 28th minute and three more unanswered goals - from Bez Hughes and two more from Barron - gave the Wild a healthy 3-5 lead to carry into the final period.

A Ken Armstrong strike on 42 minutes edged the Wild further ahead but that was cancelled out by a Deeside goal 4 minutes later. A powerplay goal from Danny Bullock 2 minutes after that restored the Wild’s 3-goal lead and a hat trick goal from the Dragons’ Gavin Austin gave the home fans hope heading into the last 5 minutes.

A Stuart Brittle strike just 20 seconds later ended any Deeside hopes of a late comeback and the score remained 5-9 to the Wild at the final buzzer.

The Wild play their last game of the regular Laidler Division season this Sunday when they play the Dragons at home this time at Planet Ice Widnes. The game faces off at 5.30pm with doors opening at 4.45 but as the Wild team will be presented with the league championship trophy and their winners medals after the game, a large crowd is expected so spectators are advised to plan their evening accordingly.

Two wins over the weekend saw the Bradford Bulldogs grab the last remaining place in the end of season play offs - which will take place at Planet Ice Widnes over the weekend of 20th and 21st April.

There are two semi final games on the Saturday - where Widnes Wild as champions will take on the team that finishes 4th in the league table at 4.30pm and Telford Tigers – who are confirmed runners up - will play the team that finishes third at 7.30pm. The two semi final winners will meet in the play off final at 5.30pm on the Sunday.

The final placings for Bradford and Hull Jets are yet to be decided as there are still games outstanding in their respective league programmes.

Widnes have won the play off title for the past two seasons and will be looking to secure an historic third in a row at this year’s tournament.

Tickets for the weekend are selling quickly and latest information can be obtained from the Planet Ice Rink by calling 0151 420 7930

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team won their opening Summer Classic Cup match 10-8 away to the Shropshire Huskies in Telford on Saturday. Alex Hannah, James Kelly, Jack Walker and Michael Parkin all scored two goals each, with the others coming from Mike Filek and Bobby Samari.

The Summer Classic Cup has an expanded format for 2019 comprising 10 teams overall split into Western and Eastern Conferences - with the top teams after the group stages meeting in semi finals and a final in August.

The Raiders are playing in the Western Conference along with the Flintshire Phantoms from Deeside, Wyre Seagulls and Blackburn Buccaneers from Blackburn and the Shropshire Huskies, with teams playing each other once at home and once away in the group stage.

The Raiders have two more away games – at Wyre Seagulls on 27th April and Flintshire Phantoms on 5th May before their first home game of the competition on Sunday 9th June against the Phantoms.

The Widnes Wild Academy Under 15 team lost 0-8 to very strong Nottingham U15 team at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday. While a defeat is always disappointing, the Widnes youngsters can take solace from the fact that this was their best performance yet against the league leaders, having previously lost to them 0-12, 0-11 and 0-11, and they have significantly increased their possession of the puck and shots on goal figures since the earlier meetings.

The Wild U15 team have two games left in their debut season of competitive ice hockey – away to Blackburn this Saturday 30th March and then at Deeside on Sunday 27th April.

The Academy Under 13 team are away to Grimsby this Sunday 31st March, hoping to build on their 10-6 home win over the same opposition two weeks ago. Their last remaining home game of the season is on Saturday 6th April against Blackburn.

The cream of British women’s ice hockey will be on show in Widnes when the EIHA Women’s Trophy weekend is staged at the Planet Ice rink over the weekend of 1st and 2nd June.

The prestigious tournament is being held in Widnes for the first time and will feature 10 games over two days. The semi finals for the Women’s Elite League, Women’s Premier League and Women’s National League (north & south) will all be held on the Saturday, with the finals for all three play-off competitions on the Sunday. The Sunday will also see the play off between the winners of the U16 leagues north and south to arrive at an overall U16 national champion.

The women’s league programme continues until the end of May so the final line-up of the teams taking part in the play offs will not be known until then but it will be a sensational weekend of ice hockey featuring many of the players from the Great Britain women’s national team and a few overseas players as well.

Admission to the weekend is free and details of the match schedule will be announced nearer the time.