Widnes Wild 5 Nottingham Lions 1
A deflated Nottingham Lions team, failed to bounce-back from last weekend’s disappointing defeat at the hands of the Deeside Dragons, as they lost out to a determined Widnes Wild side, at Silverblades Ice Rink, on Sunday evening.
So far, the Wild had yet to beat any of the top four teams, in what is their first season in the league but despite Matt Bradbury’s side out-shooting their opponents 57-40, Widnes deservedly took the points with some impressive netminding and forward play.
New signing Ben Foster-Wilson made his second career Lions debut, whilst Slawomir Kasprzak, Cameron Good, James Francis-Barrie and Stephen Breisner all returned to the line-up, after the foursome missed last weekend’s gutsy loss. Dan Hazeldine and Christy Johnson-Brown were the only absentees.
The Lions got off to the worst start possible, when Slovakian Filip Supa scored for the home side inside the first minute, after he caught his defensive opponents out, on the break.
Nottingham continued to struggle with their host’s pace in the opening exchanges and could have found themselves further behind, if it wasn’t for the ever-reliable Alan Levers in the Lions’ net.
However, Widnes did double their lead on fifteen minutes, once again the Lions were caught in possession and couldn’t clear their zone in time before Supa was on hand once again, to grab his second of the night.
The period then ended three minutes prematurely due to blood on the ice, after Joe Steeples took a puck to the face, with the referee deciding to play the remaining minutes of the period before the start of the second. It was also the last action Steeples would see, as he headed to hospital for treatment.
Unfortunately for Nottingham, there were more Widnes goals to come after the break.
Supa completed his hat-trick on twenty-eight minutes, just ten seconds into a Wild power play, after Mikey Rose had been sent to the box for hooking.
Worse was to come just four minutes later, when Bobby Caunce’s pace was too much for the sluggish Lions defence and he coolly slotted the puck home past a reeling Levers.
Bradbury’s side, now desperate to get back into the game, peppered Greg Ruxton’s goal with rubber, out-shooting their hosts 22-11 in the period but the in-form custodian held firm, leaving Nottingham with an almost insurmountable task, as they tried to salvage something from the game in the final twenty minutes.
Once again the Lions dominated large parts of the third period but still couldn’t make the all-important breakthrough and Widnes’ Shaun Dippnall then added to Nottingham’s woes, when he made it 5-0 on the power play.
It later proved to be a bittersweet evening for the Wild’s three-goal hero Supa, when he left the ice with a painful looking hand injury and quickly followed his earlier opponent to the local A&E department.
Widnes nearly made it six with three minutes left in the game, when Levers denied Caunce a second goal, after yet another speedy drive to the net.
Just when the Wild thought they were about to shut-out the Lions for the first time since March 2013, Lee Holland popped-up with seventeen seconds remaining, to finally fire the puck past Ruxton and score his first goal since returning to the team, late last year.
The Lions now return to home ice next Sunday evening and have a score to settle with second-placed Deeside Dragons, the only team Nottingham have yet to take any points from, this season. Face off at the National Ice Centre is at 7.30pm. Ticket details are available by visiting the Nottingham Lions’ website.
Lee Holland 1+0, Stephen Breisner 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 2-0, 2nd 2-0, 3rd 1-1.
Shots: 1st 21-14, 2nd 11-22, 3rd 8-21. Total: 40-57.
Penalty Mins: 1st 4-4, 2nd 6-2, 3rd 4-6. Total: 14-12.
Lions MOTM: Connor Glossop.