The YKK Widnes Wild faced the Blackburn Hawks back on home ice on Sunday evening, looking for revenge after taking a 10-3 loss the previous evening. This was the final meeting between the 2 sides with 47 goals being recorded across all competitions, however the Wild came out the wrong side of a 3-7 scoreline on the night.


Widnes were without goal-scorer Gregor Donaldson from the previous evening due to a fixture clash and still missed several key players from the lineup. Widnes opted for netminder Phil Pearson between the pipes, with Logan Reid to back up. Meanwhile, Charles Phillips was the only change to the Hawks bench, whilst Ben Keddie replaced Oliver Thomasson in net.

Blackburn carried through their momentum from the night before, and soon their top points scorer opened the scoring. #28 James Riddoch capitalised on a breakaway opportunity, assisted by #88 Adam Barnes at 1:35. Pearson continued to face the pressure of the Hawks attack, but he held onto the shots.


Widnes were found on the back foot after #11 Will Harper was handed the 1st penalty of the game at 5:20 for tripping. Despite a solid effort from the Wild defence, #70 Lee Pollitt doubled the lead via #80 Bobby Streetly and #28 James Riddoch at 6:53.


A second call for #11 Will Harper at 7:34 left Widnes a player short once more. Riddoch grabbed his 2nd goal, shooting low from the left wing at 8:05, following a pass from #88 Adam Barnes after the Hawks cycled the puck around the zone on the power-play. Both #63 Joey Coulter and #98 Sam Warnock then sat co-incidentals for slashing and interference at 8:59 after colliding with each other centre ice.


Hawks captain #8 Aaron Davies received a penalty for hooking #17 Andrew Hopkins on a breakaway at 10:27, giving Wild a chance to claw a goal back. However, the Widnes offence failed to find a way past Keddie. Minutes later, #37 Ronnie Grimes was called for interference at 15:52 after slamming #11 Harper into the boards. Yet once again, Blackburn prevented the Wild from capitalising on the power-play.


The hat-trick goal for #28 Riddoch was tapped in on the back door after #88 Barnes fed a pass into the crease at 19:02, giving Blackburn a 4 goal lead after 20 minutes, repeating the scoreline from the previous match up.


Despite the break, James Riddoch added another to his tally, posting the puck past Pearson at 21:04, from #88 Barnes and #80 Streetly. Blackburn captain #8 Aaron Davies was then handed a 2min minor for a check to the head on Will Harper at 23:38, giving Widnes a man advantage.


Wild D-man #55 Owen Rae opened the scoring for Widnes after firing the puck top-corner past #34 Ben Keddie just 7 seconds into the PP at 23:45, via #63 Joey Coulter and #16 Mikey Gilbert. Widnes continued to fire shots on Keddie, but he held on for his team to maintain their 4 goal lead.


D-man #12 Ethan Mayoh then tapped the puck over the line at 31:27, reacting quickly after Pearson lost his stick and there was a crowd of bodies in the crease. Wild’s #61 Bailey Thomson received a tripping penalty just 48 seconds later, allowing Riddoch to fire a 5th goal at 33:21 on the powerplay, assisted by #88 Adam Barnes.


Widnes player-coach #63 Joey Coulter quickly reacted and skated down the opposite end of the ice to rifle the puck over Keddie’s shoulder at 31:43, assisted by fellow Scot #61 Bailey Thomson.


Blackburn’s #8 Davies was then handed a slashing penalty at 33:41 after taking goal-scorer #63 Coulter down along the boards, putting his side on a PK. Both sides created chances in the final few minutes of the middle frame, but failed to add the 10th goal to the scoreline before the buzzer.


Wild returned for the final period with intent and fought hard against the continuous pressure from Blackburn. Widnes claimed more possession of the puck throughout the 3rd period, preventing the Hawks offence, but failed to score down the opposite end.


Blackburn’s #46 Marcus Thacker received a boarding call at 51:43, putting his side at risk of conceding. However, Widnes failed to cycle the puck successfully around the Hawks zone, seeing them return to full strength unscathed.


The only goal of the period came from Wild’s #21 Damarni James who scored against his former team at 54:11, slotting the puck past Keddie, assisted by #11 Will Harper. Widnes continued to push to reduce the deficit, but the final buzzer sounded to end the game at 3-7 after 60 minutes.


MVPs were awarded to Wild player-coach Joey Coulter after putting in an all-round vital performance for Widnes. Meanwhile, James Riddoch received the award for Blackburn following his 5 goals throughout the match.


`Officials: Ormes, Fielden, MacKinnon


STATS – (0-4) (2-3) (1-0)


Widnes Wild: Joey Coulter 1+1, Owen Rae 1+0, Damarni James 1+0, Mikey Gilbert 0+1, Will Harper 0+1, Bailey Thomson 0+1

Phil Pearson – (17/13/10) 40 shots


Blackburn Hawks: James Riddoch 5+1, Lee Pollitt 1+1, Ethan Mayoh 1+0, Adam Barnes 0+5, Bobby Streetly 0+2, Ben McLellan 0+1, Aaron Davies 0+1


Ben Keddie – (5/12/8) 25 shots

Article written by Fleur Tobin