Referee: Chris Wells
Hawks line up: 15+1 – Widnes Line up 14+2
Netminders: Hawks Niks Trapans – Widnes Philip Pearson
The first Period begins and Hawks charge forward from the puck drop as Petr Valusiak pinches the puck from a Wild player at centre ice and sets up Aaron Davies who shoots but Pearson holds onto it. Wild retaliate with a chance of their own and Craig Lutkevitch clears the puck across ice. A Wild forward pounces on the puck and Traps is called upon for the first time with a solid save but Wild still a threat. Ollie Lomax resorts to hooking and sits a 2 minute penalty giving Wild a powerplay.
Petr is given a chance despite being short handed but Pearson isn’t beaten. Wild take control and set up around Hawks and a fast paced shot from point is dealt with by Hawks defence. Wild keep coming but Hawks stay strong at the back. Hawks break down Wild play and Rick Ravey surges up the ice where his shot is saved but Hawks maintain possession in Wild’s defensive zone. Pearson has to cover to keep Hawks at bay
Joe Greaves seems to be everywhere when he’s on the ice and is a thorn in Wild’s side. Widnes get sick of Hawks attacking play and fight back, peppering Traps with shots, firing in subsequent rebounds too but Traps is quick on his toes. After a spell of the momentum being with the Hawks it’s now more end to end play
Petr and Joe work the puck between them and around Widnes before finding Neilly at the blue line. His shot is blocked and the puck sees the balcony netting. The resulting face off is to Pearson’s right and Corey Lee finds himself in possession but also on his stomach. He still manages to whip a shot in and Widnes’ Chris Gee sees the box for tripping. His rest is short lived as Hawks strike immediately using the man advantage to the full with Petr setting up Neilly who fires a wicked shot from point which makes the back of the net bulge.
GOAL! BLACKBURN HAWKS 1-0 Widnes Wild. 11 minutes 13 seconds
Neilly looks for a quick second goal but the post denies him with Hawks keeping the pressure on. Both team battle hard in Widnes’ defensive zone as neither team can quite get the upper hand. Wild have the next scoring opportunity as a Wild player shoots from the slot. Traps swipes the puck away. Hawks defence soon shuts Widnes down and the buzzer sounds.
End of first: Blackburn Hawks 1-0 Widnes Wild
The second period gets underway. Wild have come out all guns blazing and Hawks are slow to catch up. Joe Greaves powers down the left wing and fires for the top far corner. Pearson gets his left elbow to the puck before Aaron, present in the crease, forces the puck over the line. Wells wipes the goal and Widnes take the opportunity for a breakaway. Hawks defence are nowhere and Wild’s Ryan Kemp is one on one with Traps and a well placed shot claims Hawks’ clean sheet.
Goal: Blackburn Hawks 1-1 WIDNES WILD. 23 minutes 11 seconds
The goal has fired the Hawks up and Ollie takes on Wild with a vengeance. His shot is saved but he works hard again and finds Corey Lee with a cross crease pass. Corey’s shot is blocked and heads over the crossbar. Wild step it up a gear and Hawks are forced to ice the puck. Wild win the face off to Traps’ right and put quick pressure on the goal but Traps clears a loose puck to keep Wild out. Rick Ravey makes a late hit and is punished with a 2 minute penalty giving Wild a powerplay. Ollie clears the puck around the boards and it’s helped on its way by Royds but it’s not far enough as Wild claim possession. Wild’s Michal Novak makes the most of Hawks’ sloppy play and fires in a top shelfer.
Goal: Blackburn Hawks 1-2 WIDNES WILD. 28 minutes 34 seconds
Widnes are now picking more holes in Hawks defence with another break away
Traps is left as the last line of defence but makes a flurry of great saves. Hawks break away before play is stopped as Ollie and Wild’s Lee Kemp drop the gloves after Ollie makes a big hit at centre ice. Both see the penalty boxes with 2+2 for roughing but they’re coincidental penalties so play is still 5 on 5.
Wild try to work the puck around Hawks’ defensive zone but Hawks break free with the puck. Miscommunication leaves the puck without a player and Hawks have to battle to reclaim possession. Wild’s Peter Toth weaves through Hawks players with great puck control. James Neil eventually puts a stop to him and Hawks try to push forward but there’s no real conviction and they’re soon pushed back. Corey Lee forces his way through to the slot but his shot is blocked and the puck is over the plexi at the hands of Widnes’ Daniel Fay who takes a 2 minute penalty for delay of the game. Hawks set up in Widnes’ defensive zone and Petr finds James Royds in front of net but he can’t get his stick around the shot. Wild’s Kemp and Ollie return to the ice as Wild win a face off to the right of Traps. They have the closest shot of the powerplay as the short handed team as the crossbar comes to Hawks’ rescue. It’s a pretty even handed last few minutes as possession changes hands regularly and neither team can make an attacking impact.
End of second: Blackburn Hawks 1-2 Widnes Wild
32 seconds into the third period and Widnes get their third. Hawks’ defence are caught sleeping leaving Traps hung out to dry. Novak’s first shot is saved low down by Traps’ pads but the rebound is chipped over him.
Goal: Blackburn Hawks 1-3 WIDNES WILD. 40 minutes 32 seconds
Wild keep the pressure on Hawks and the puck in their final third. Luco and a Wild player come together and Luco takes a hit to the face. Blood is drawn. Play continues and Ethan finally manages to take some control to set Lee Pollitt up going forwards. Pearson has to make a quick save but Hawks are spurred on
Corey Lee and Lee Pollitt link up well to create a great scoring chance. Pearson saves but it’s not comfortable and Wild’s Peter Toth takes a 2 minute penalty for hooking giving Hawks the powerplay. James Neil and Petr set Hawks up well but a Petr shot is blocked and the puck is cleared. Hawks attack take two is cut short as Wild pinches Royds pocket on the blue line
Wild breakaway and are one on one with Traps. He follows the puck well to make a strong stop and covers the puck. Wild take a further chance with a cross crease pass and back post shot
Traps does incredibly to get across and make a diving save.
Wild are back to full strength and have the upper hand on Hawks using pace to out play the home team with Traps again saving Hawks’ blushes after creative Wild play. Wilds Shaun Dippnall sees the penalty box for tripping and Hawks are again on the powerplay. With 10 minutes remaining in the game Hawks work the puck well around Widnes. Petr finds Royds through a crowd who’s quick shot is saved. Hawks up their shot on goal tally but so do Wild as the poke the puck free and attack making the Hawks go on the defensive
Wild return to full strength and work the puck well out from the back for a 2 on 2 attack but they’re called for offside. Wild Matt Tarpey takes a 2 minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and Hawks are quick to utilise the powerplay and challenge on goal but Pearson is quicker and makes a low save. Riddoch bursts into the final third after Lee Pollitt wins a face off at the offside spot. Riddoch lifts the puck but it’s into Pearson’s glove. Neilly takes control of the puck at point. He makes a well placed pass to Petr’s stick who finds the back of the net with a sniped shot just inside the far post.
GOAL! BLACKBURN HAWKS 2-3 Widnes Wild. 53 minutes 59 seconds
During the following battle Craig Lutkevitch takes a 2 minute penalty for tripping. Petr takes his chances with a 1 on 2 attack and powers through the two defenders. Pearson closes his pads on the shot puck and Wild’s Daniel Fay takes a 2 minute penalty for hooking so the two sides are playing 4 on 4. Hawks step it up a gear but it appears too late. Pearson covers a loose puck. Hawks keep up the pressure as both sides return to full strength but the clock ticks down and the final buzzer goes.
Final score: Blackburn Hawks 2-3 Widnes Wild
MVPs: Blackburn Hawks Niks Trapans – Widnes Wild Michal Novak