The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild booked their place in the final of the Moralee Cup with a sensational two legged semi-final victory over highly rated Solway Sharks at the weekend.

They drew 3-3 away in Dumfries on Saturday night before finishing off the job with a highly entertaining and keenly contested 5-4 win at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday. The away leg on Saturday was incredibly close and the Wild eventually took the lead with just 90 seconds left in the first period with an acrobatic goal from Latvian import Vlads Vulkanovs.

Solway equalise

Runcorn and Widnes World: d on 24 minutes but Widnes edged ahead again on 32 with a goal from Joe Greaves. The Sharks pulled level once again just 75 seconds later and the scores remained locked at 2-2 heading into the final period.

This was a superb all round performance from the Wild and while Solway had the upper hand in terms of puck possession and shots on goals for much of the game, it was Widnes who made more of their chances when they came.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

That said, a fight in front of Harrison Walker’s net between the Wild’s Tom Brierley and Solway’s Callum Boyd saw both protagonists sent off for the rest of the game and this seemed to lift the Sharks heading into the last 10 minutes.

On the resulting powerplay, Solway took the lead for the first time in the game but a fine effort from Vulkanovs restored parity again and the match finished level, with everything still to play for in the second leg.


Runcorn and Widnes World:

In the home game on Sunday, Widnes took the lead after 4 minutes with a fine strike from Vlads Vulkanovs but Solway hit back to lead 1-3 at the first period break.

Widnes pulled a goal back through player coach Richard Haggar just 32 seconds into the second period and, as the Wild piled on the pressure, the visitors began to lose their composure.

A string of penalties for Solway in the second period handed the initiative to Widnes and they made the most of the resulting powerplay opportunities with goals from Vulkanovs on 25 minutes and Joe Greaves on 38 to take the lead.

A further goal from Matty Barlow on 45 minutes put Widnes 5-3 ahead and with one foot in the Cup final but there was more drama still to come. Solway pulled a goal back with less than two minutes left on the clock and then called a time out to discuss a last minute strategy.

They removed their netminder in favour of an extra attacker for the last 75 seconds of the game but were unable to make a breakthrough and Widnes were able to hold and secure their first ever victory over the Sharks.

The 5-4 victory means that Widnes win the tie 8-7 overall on aggregate and now go on to play the winners of the other semi final in a two-legged final, which will take place in the New Year.

The other finalists are yet to be determined as the semi final ties between Solihull Barons and Dundee Comets - which were also due to take place this weekend - were not played due to some problem regarding travel and ice availability so that issue will need to be resolved by the EIHA before details for the Cup final can be confirmed.

The Wild have another busy weekend ahead of them as they travel to face Solihull Barons in the league this Saturday 18th December – 5.30pm face off - and are then at home to Sheffield Scimitars on Sunday at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm start.