It was one of those days when nothing went right for the Lions, Fifty six shots turned away by the Widnes goaltender Greg Ruxton as the Wild reaped their revenge, for defeat from the Lions the previous weekend.
Tom Hovell replaced Alan Levers in nets, also missing from last week were Slavomir Kasprzak and Elliot Cox. Lions welcomed back under 18 players Sam Jackson, Kieran Raynor and Cameron Pywell. Max Bennett was also available.
Lions were first out the blocks, holding Widnes back in their own blue zone for three and a half minutes before Widnes broke clear for their first shot on goal.
But it was with only their second shot that Wild took the lead, Geoff Wigglesworth firing in from the slot, from Captain Shaun Dippnall’s pass.
Lions were undeterred by this goal against the run of play, continuing to besiege the Widnes goal, but no matter how hard they tried goaltender Greg Ruxton got something in the way.
By twelve minutes into the period, Widnes began to take charge, and it was Tom Hovell’s turn to face a barrage of rubber.
Two and a half minutes from the end of the period, Joe Humphries was penalised for checking Dan Bullock to the boards from behind.
It was Widnes who took the upper hand at the start of the second, Adam Andrews desperate clearance cleared the glass and gaining him two minutes for delaying the game. A brilliant catch from Hovell from the point through traffic, prevented Lions falling two behind.
A misplaced pass from Ruxton on a Lions break, but Connor Glossop’s shot was straight back into the glove hand of the beleaguered keeper.
As Lions pressured the Wild goal, Netminder Ruxton appeared to kick off the net to stop the play, and take a breather. Another Ruxton clearance found Player-Coach Scott McKenzie, whose low quick shot beat Hovell for the Wild’s second goal.
With seven and a half minutes to go Andrews again found himself in the sin bin for slashing. The resulting power play saw Wild go three ahead when Wigglesworth beat Hovell on the glove side with a vicious drive from the slot. Nottingham coach Matt Bradbury decided to call a time out to regroup his troops.
Lions recovered well with a wave of attacks on the Wild goal, but Ruxton made a pad save from Glossop and saves from Humphries and Hazeldine in quick succession.
For the third time in the period Ruxton’s net came off its moorings, when under pressure, it was looking more than a coincidence, when it came off again, the goaltender received 2 minutes for what appeared to be a deliberate stick to Robert Perks face.
At the end of the period Kieran Raynor received a penalty for kneeing after a taking down a Wild player to ground.
Forty seconds into the final session Perks went for slashing on a delayed penalty, Perks had another go to get the whistle and he was adjudged to having taken another Wild player down resulting in a double minor penalty plus 10 for making his opinion known to the official.
With Raynor already sitting it out from the second period, Lions faced a minute of five on three. Wild thought they had scored their 4th, but the puck rang Hovell’s right hand post.
Shaun Dippnall went for tripping Dan Hazeldine on the half way line, but Ruxton stopped everything Lions could throw at him.
Humphries was called for what looked to be a soft boarding call in the final four minutes of the game seeing no way back for the Lions, Andrews protested too strongly and received a game misconduct. Nottingham bench and Ben Wilson picked up a ten minute misconduct for their troubles as the officials stamped their authority at the end of the game causing confusion and frustration.
Wild ending up on the power play made it four-nil. Dippnall converting with help from Strangeway and McKenzie.
Lions rallied, came close to scoring but the net again,came off its moorings. This resulted in a coming together of under 18's player Kieran Raynor who duly obliged after being requested to remove his face mask for some fisticuffs with Sheldon Cassidy, both receiving two mins each for roughing.
One minute nineteen seconds left and Ruxton finally made an error! Dropping a Hazeldine drive in the path of Rob Perks, sliding the puck away from the minders grasp for Hazeldine to fire into the back of the net, to ruin his chance of the shut out.
At the hooter, Lions remained on the top of the table, but their lead cut to three points, as Deeside won away at Altrincham. After the game there was a wonderful photo opportunity for ex Nottingham Lion and current Widnes player Lee Kemp to savour a moment to remember with his dad "Trev" and his former team mates - The Lions team and management wish Trev and his family all the best.
Lions now have a weekend off before taking on GB20's at the National Ice Centre on Tuesday 3rd November - 7.30pm face off