Final score: WILD 3-2 HAWKS
The Greenlite Group Blackburn Hawks put the Wild under pressure early on, with Croyle being the busier of the two netminders, when what seemed out of nowhere in the 12th minute, Reece Cairney-Witter and former Hawk Chris Gee dropped the gloves. Both players were ejected from the game, with the Hawks players appealing to the officials with what looks like a headbutt from Gee (and is confirmed by the penalty given to him).
The Wild started to pile the pressure as Haid and Haggar circled the back of Traps’ net before Haggar slotted the puck past Traps. No sooner had play started when the Hawks broke away, Jacob Lutwyche passed to fellow Dizzyfish sponsored Finlay Ulrick for a reply to Widnes’ goal for both teams to go into the break at 1-1!
Just 2 mins into the 2nd period the Hawks were completely shellshocked by a slap-shot goal from Barry. Play was evenly matched for most of the period when Hawks went on the powerplay as Worthington-Evans sat a 2 min hooking penalty but Widnes rode it out well. Traps pulled off a string of phenomenal saves to protect his net. Hawks handed the Wild a powerplay as Finlay Ulrick took a 2 minute penalty for hooking. He was soon released from the box though as Haggar sniped a shot into the top corner of Traps’ net, as the score at the break stood at 3-1.
Hawks came back out all guns blazing testing the Wild defence. Paul Swindlehurst clashed with a Wild player and seemed to come of the worst and left the ice to get checked out. Cade King was given a 2 minute penalty for cross-checking then it was soon 4 on 4 as Griffin sat 2 minutes out for hooking. Hawks went on the attack as Ollie Barron was sent to the box for interference. Ironically the Wild rode out the penalties and not long after Aaron Davies finds the back of the net to keep Hawks in the game with a one goal difference. In a nailbiting end to the game Traps sat out the last minute or so, and Hawks had the 2 men advantage with a Wild player being sent to the penalty box but it was just not to be. Widnes Wild are all but confirmed winners of the NIHL North Cup being level on points but take the cup based on head to head scores.
The Blackburn Hawks would like to congratulate the Widnes Wild on their victory, and thank all of the teams who have took part in the mini series in what has been a fiercely fought competition and a long awaited return to hockey under these unprecedented circumstances.
Photo By Steve Pollitt
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