The YKK Widnes Wild opened their 23/24 season with a dramatic 7-6 shootout win against the Telford Tigers 2 on Sunday. The Wild saw some last-minute additions of young Scottish players Kyle Carruth, Owen Rae and Gregor Donaldson to boost the squad, after Rhys Edwards and Damarni James were unable to ice. 

Telford quickly opened the scoring at 2:07 from #29 Keyes and the game remained fast paced for the rest of the 1st period, leading Widnes to get their first goal at 19:11 from defenseman #46 Alex Mitchell. The Wild fired once more just before the buzzer at 19:48 with a strike from #39 Matty Barlow (sponsored by Tailored Security Solutions), giving Widnes an edge to take into the 2nd. 

The Tigers came out firing to tie the game at 21:17 from #53 Hunt, but Wild were quick to react just 27 seconds later at 21:44 with a nicely worked goal from #17 Andy Hopkins. Both sides continued to apply the pressure throughout the game to keep the scoreline tight. However, the Tigers made a sudden breakthrough with 3 quick-fire goals mid-way through the 2nd to leave the score at 3-5, all coming from ex Widnes player #77 Scott McKenzie to give him a hat-trick against his former teammate #30 Phil Pearson. Telford were unable to carry their lead into the final 20 after 2 goals from #16 Mikey Gilbert and #17 Andy Hopkins levelled the game once more.

It was all square going into the 3rd, but that quickly changed at 41:06 after Kyle Carruth fired one in for his debut goal in a yellow jersey, making the score 6-5. Telford then tapped another in just 25 seconds later to tie the game once again. There were plenty of chances for both teams, but no one could capitalize before the final buzzer, leaving the game at 6-6 after regulation time. 

5 minutes of 3 on 3 overtime began, and both teams pushed for a last-minute win. A man advantage was handed to Telford at 64:23 after #11 Will Harper was given a cross-checking penalty, putting the tigers on a power-play for 37 seconds. The Wild managed to push through, with a man down to send the game to penalties. 

Widnes came out 7-6 victors on the night, following goals from #63 Joey Coulter, #5 Kyle Carruth and game winner #17 Andy Hopkins in the shootout. 

MVPs were then presented by former wild player #44 Dani Haid, who made the trip up north from his new home to support the lads in their first game. Netminder #50 Hal Griffiths was awarded MVP for the tigers, and #5 Kyle Carruth received his first MVP for Widnes on his debut game. 

Your YKK Widnes Wild are back in action on Saturday 9th September at Telford Ice Rink, 7:30pm face-off. 

Officials: Hamilton, Cunningham, Stanley

Article written by Fleur Tobin