THE Widnes Wild NIHL team had a mixed weekend, losing 3-4 at home to Solihull Barons on Sunday and then dramatically winning in a penalty shootout away to Sheffield Scimitars on Sunday.

The preparations for the weekend’s games had been overshadowed by the controversial release of two players - Calum Ruddick and Jack Murray - with the decision being criticised by some fans, coming at a time when the team has been struggling in terms of consistency and manpower for certain matches.

Fortunately, despite the departures, the Wild were able to ice a healthy bench for Saturday’s game, albeit being bolstered by a number of players on 2-way deals with other clubs, with extra spice being added to the game with former Widnes import Dani Haid returning to Widnes for the first time since joining the Barons in the summer.

This game was evenly matched, very entertaining to watch and the result could have gone either way until the dying seconds. After a very tense opening spell – with numerous chances for both sides - Widnes took the lead with a goal from Mikey Gilbert with just 90 seconds left in the first period making the most of a powerplay on a Solihull tripping call.

The Barons levelled the score just 90 seconds after the restart with a powerplay goal of their own but Widnes edged back into the lead on 27 minutes with a goal from Kyle Carruth. The score remained at a finely balanced 2-1 to Widnes with one period left to play and both teams still having all to play for.

A Wild goal from Bez Hughes two minutes into the third period put daylight between the teams for the first time and there were hopes that Widnes might start to pull away.

Unfortunately, a disastrous spell around the 50 minute mark saw them concede two goals within 38 seconds of each other, which saw the Barons draw level.

A further goal for Solihull on 54 minutes put them into the lead for the first time and Widnes threw everything forward to try and salvage something from the game.

The Wild withdrew netminder Luca Tessadri for the final 30 seconds in favour of an extra attacker but they were unable to make the most of the man advantage and the game finished 3-4 to Solihull.

The away game at Sheffield on Sunday afternoon started badly for the Wild and they found themselves 2-0 down after only 8 minutes.

A shorthanded goal from Torran Anderson halved the deficit on 11 minutes but then penalty trouble saw Widnes battling on a 3 v 5 powerplay that eventually led to a third Sheffield goal on 16minutes.

The game tightened up in the second period and a string of niggly penalties for both sides prevented any sort of momentum being built up. The only goal of the period came from Nathan Britton on 30 minutes to drag the Wild back into the game and the score remained 3-2 at the second break.

The third period was just as closely fought with plenty of chances - and penalties - for both sides. Conner McNulty tied the score with 5 minutes left to play and Widnes finally looked in with a chance of getting something out of the game.

Will Harper picked up a penalty in the final minutes and the Wild had to defend against a late Sheffield onslaught. When Harper came out of the penalty box with just 45 seconds left on the clock, he was presented with a chance to win the game with a breakaway shot but was thwarted by the Scimitars netminder.

The score remained 3-3 at the end of the regulation 60 minutes playing time and the game went into an extra period of 5 minutes sudden death overtime. Widnes weathered a penalty call that saw them battle shorthanded for two minutes and the game then went to a penalty shoot out.

After one strike each from two penalty shots, Wild netminder Harrison Walker made a crucial save and Conner McNulty fired in to hand Widnes the win, securing two important league points for the Wild, with Sheffield getting one point for drawing at the end of normal time.

Sunday’s win means that Widnes have been able to avoid setting an unwanted record of 6 consecutive defeats - which would have been the worst run of results in their 10½ year history - and can now look to start on a winning run of their own.

The Wild NIHL team are next in action this Sunday 19th November when they take on Sheffield Scimitars at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.

Sunday 12th November – WNIHL Div 2 North Sheffield Shadows 5 – DMUK Widnes Wild Women 4 The DMUK Widnes Wild women put in a battling performance away to Sheffield Shadows on Sunday but narrowly lost out 5-4 in an entertaining game at iceSheffield.

Widnes took the lead in the 8th minute with a goal from Lise Gillen but Sheffield equalised late in the period and the score stood at 1-1 at the first break.

The second period went badly for the Wild women and they conceded three unanswered goals to trail 4-1 after 40 minutes playing time. Sheffield scored a fifth goal just 2 minutes into the third period but this seemed to spur the Wild team into mounting a late rally.

A shorthanded goal from Gillen narrowed the score on 50 minutes and then a brace from Preston Gennoe just 45 seconds apart on 55 minutes brought the deficit down to just a single goal.

Widnes piled pressure on the Shadows net and withdrew goaltender Stephanie Drinkwater for the last minute in favour of an extra attacker in an attempt to force a late breakthrough. Unfortunately, it was to no avail, and Sheffield held on to record a 5-4 victory. The Wild women have one more away game - at Telford Wrekin Raiders on 25th November - before their next home game on Sunday 10th December when they entertain Kingston Diamonds at Planet Ice Widnes.

Wild Academy Round Up The Wild Academy teams enjoyed a 100% weekend with wins for both the Under 12 and Under 16 sides.

The Under 12 team beat Coventry U12s 8-0 at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday while the Under 16 team won 0-4 away to Sheffield U16s, with netminder Finn Ogden picking up his second shut out of the season.

The Academy Under 10 team travelled to Blackburn on Sunday to take part in a 4-team cross ice tournament featuring Manchester and Deeside as well as the host club. No match results or player statistics are recorded in Under 10s games.

This Saturday 18th November, the Under 18A team are at home to Nottingham, face off 6.35pm, while the Under 12 team are away to Solihull U12s starting at 6.15pm.

On Sunday, the Under 14s are away to Nottingham U14s and the Under 18B team are away to Sheffield U18s – both games face off at 4.45pm.

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.