Referee: Chris Wells
Hawks line up: 18+2 – Widnes Line up 18+2
Netminders: Hawks Harrison Walker – Widnes Jonah Armstrong
The Blackburn Hawks travel to Widnes with a steely determination to even the scores up from Saturday’s reverse fixture. The puck drops and Hawks win the face-off but icing is called straight away. James Royds and Jack Murray control the puck at the back and set Lee Pollitt up pushing forwards but Wild defend well and reverse momentum. It’s not long before Hawks reclaim possession before Petr Valusiak surges over the blue line and drops the puck back to Aaron Davies behind him. A huge slap shot from Aaron hits the back of the net.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 0-1 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 1 minute 14 seconds
Both teams are playing a fast-paced game and Jared Dickinson takes a 2 minute penalty for holding giving the Wild a power play. James Royds breaks out with the puck and James Neil in support. It’s great pressure from short-handed Hawks with good communication between Ollie Lomax and Craig Lutkevitch in defense. Hawks return to full strength when James Neil battles at the boards in the corner behind Harrison and releases the puck. Petr pounces on it and a 1-2 with Joe Greaves in the final third sees Armstrong wrong-footed and Petr slot the puck home behind his back.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 0-2 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 7 minutes 5 seconds
Wild get physical to try to make an impact but Dickinson and Luco are too solid on their feet to be budged. It’s end to end entertaining hockey and Hawks have a good stint in Wild’s defensive zone as Joe and Neilly work well together. Shots come in from Neilly, Ollie and Luco but the third goal proves elusive. A face off to Armstrong’s right sees a loose puck pass the blue line and fall to Jared to collect. He loses an edge and slips and Wild pounce. Wild’s Shaun Dippnall slots the puck home through Harrison’s 5 hole.
Goal: WIDNES WILD 1-2 Blackburn Hawks. 11 minutes 27 seconds
Hawks strike back almost immediately as James Royds feeds Lee Pollitt who makes no mistake when shooting.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 1-3 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 12 minutes 14 seconds
Ollie Lomax takes a 2 minute penalty for interference as he pushes a Wild player through the bench door leaving Wild on a power play. Hawks are the attacking team though as Lee Pollitt protects the puck from Wild in the final third and is brought down and Daniel Fay takes a 2 minute penalty for holding. Wild defend well to keep Hawks to the outskirts and eventually intercept. Hawks take a bench penalty for too many men but Ollie returns to the ice making the sides even again at 4 on 4. Petr runs rings around Wild in Hawks’ defensive zone and pokes the puck free to Royds who keeps control of the puck and bides his time. Wild return to 5 skaters giving them a 34 second power play. Wild’s Lee Kemp takes a 2 minute penalty for interference to even numbers back to 4 on 4 with 3 minutes remaining in the first. Hawks return to full strength. The man advantage is used quickly as Joe passes to Neilly at the blue line and his slap shot is fired home.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 1-4 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 17 minutes 37 seconds
Jared sees a shot saved by Armstrong and Widnes break with James Riddoch chasing back to take back the puck. Jared clears the puck and the buzzer sounds to mark the end of the first period.
End of first: Widnes Wild 1-4 Blackburn Hawks
It’s end to end play at the start of the second period before the Hawks pepper Armstrong’s net with shots but he does well to stop them. The puck pings off the crossbar before it’s on its way with the Wild but Lee Pollitt defends well at the boards to Harrison’s left and keeps Wild at bay. Wild momentarily claim the puck before Hawks stamp their authority in the best possible way. Petr feeds Aaron whose wrist shot whistles past Armstrong.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 1-5 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 24 minutes 23 seconds
Both teams are working hard on and off the puck when Rick Ravey works himself into space and tries a shot at Armstrong who helps it over the crossbar. Davies, Greaves, and Valusiak show creative play to each unleash a shot one after the other but they’re all denied. Wild use pace to break away and Hawks are left on the back foot. An accurate pass wide finds Daniel Bullock who finds the far top corner.
Goal: WIDNES WILD 2-5 Blackburn Hawks. 29 minutes 7 seconds
Tom Revesz takes a 2 minute penalty for interference giving Wild a power play. Widnes make a change of netminder as Pearson comes in for Armstrong. Wild are this time caught off guard as a short handed Hawks are quick to attack. Lee Pollitt flies into the final third with support from Riddoch. Pollitt hits the ice with a hand from a Wild player but not before he finds the back of the net.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 2-6 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 30 minutes 28 seconds
Hawks return to 5 skaters but Petr takes a 2 minute penalty for tripping. This time Wild keep their focus and keep possession in the final third. A scramble and bodies in the crease allow Matt Tarpey to get the puck across the line.
Goal: WIDNES WILD 3-6 Blackburn Hawks. 32 minutes 15 seconds
Hawks don’t take the goal lightly and step it up a gear. Petr Valusiak has possession of the puck taking it around the boards behind Pearson. He passes the puck out to a waiting Davies whose powerful shot beats Pearson for his hat-trick.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 3-7 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 33 minutes 37 seconds
Hawks push forwards with Davies and the rebound from his slap shot is millimetres from crossing the line with Petr’s help. Pearson scrambles to clear. All credit goes to Widnes Wild who haven’t given up and still play with determination. Hawks counter-attack with Riddoch feeding the puck out from the far corner into the path of Royds. He can’t get enough on the backhand shot to trouble Pearson. Craig Lutkevitch takes a 2 minute penalty for interference and Wild are on a power play. They capitalise on their advantage and strike early. Toth controls the puck across the face of goal and finds a gap between Harrison’s pads.
Goal: WIDNES WILD 4-7 Blackburn Hawks. 38 minutes 5 seconds
As a result of the goal Luco returns to the ice. Neilly and Wild’s #8 each take a 2 minute penalty for hooking and simulation respectively. With 1 minute remaining in the second he two sides play with 4 on 4. Riddoch is caught holding on to the puck too long in the slot and he can’t get a shot away. Wild retaliate with an attack of their own before they’re stopped in their tracks by Jared. Riddoch pushes forward again and Pearson has to raise his blocker high to keep the puck out, and the buzzer goes to call an end to the second period.
End of second: Widnes Wild 4-7 Blackburn Hawks
The third period starts with a 52 second 4 on 4 as Petr received a 10 minute misconduct penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the second so keeps James Neil company in the box. It’s still end to end stuff and Wild aren’t lying down. The first 5 minutes of the third is mostly Wild pressure. Against the run of play Hawks attack and Joe Greaves sends a dangerous puck into the crease. Davies, in the right place at the right time, helps it over the goal line for his fourth goal of the evening.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 4-8 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 55 minutes 59 seconds
Wild still aren’t demoralised and take on Hawks again. Harrison isn’t as quick across the crease as the puck but Wild miss the open net. Petr returns to the ice as the clock shows 10 minutes remaining in the game. Ollie takes a 2 minute penalty for holding and Wild have a powerplay. Widnes set up around Hawks and work the puck well between them. The puck falls to Wild’s Fay at centre blue line who fires through traffic beating them all.
Goal: WIDNES WILD 5-8 Blackburn Hawks. 50 minutes 16 seconds
Ollie barely sits double figured seconds of his penalty before he’s out as a result of the goal. There are shots on goal a plenty as it’s Wild-Hawks-Wild-Hawks in quick succession. Jared defends well clearing a dangerous puck from the crease, Hawks push on and Wild ice the puck. Wild are given too much space in the neutral zone and break forwards but Harrison makes a chest save and holds on. Ethan reads a Wild partnership well to intercept the puck and surge forwards between them. Wild’s defence remain solid but Hawks don’t let up and Wild bunch up around the net. Jared Dickinson gets the better of them and squeezes the puck through for Hawks’ 9th.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 5-9 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 46 minutes 1 second
Hawks look eager to score double figures and surround Wild once more with Aaron netting his fifth goal of the game.
GOAL! Widnes Wild 5-10 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 57 minutes 51 seconds
Hawks win a faceoff to Pearson’s left and the puck is dropped back to Jack Murray at point. A big slap shot is saved and Wild surge past Luco who makes a diving tackle that trips the Wild forward. Luco takes a 2 minute penalty for tripping with 30 seconds remaining. Hawks clear the puck and follow keeping Wild at bay for the remainder of the game
Final score: Widnes Wild 5-10 Blackburn Hawks
MVPs: Blackburn Hawks Aaron Davies – Widnes Wild Ryan Kemp