Widnes Wild bounced back from three defeats in row to thrash Telford Tigers 2 at Planet Ice.
After losing to Moralee Division side Nottingham Lions on penalties in the Midlands Cup last week, the Wild returned to league action in emphatic style.
With losses to both Altrincham Aces and Bradford Bulldogs coming in their previous two Laidler Division matches, Widnes started the game like a side with a point to prove.
Mike Clancy’s side took the lead with game barely a minute old, with Mike Mawer finishing from close range.
The Wild continued to pile on the pressure following the goal, and had two close range shots saved by the Telford netminder.
With the Tigers struggling to deal with Widnes’ relentless attack, they were given a two-minute penalty for delaying the game.
The Wild made the most of their power play with captain Danny Bullock receiving a great pass by Tom Jackson and dispatching a terrific shot into the top right corner from an angle.
Moments after being restored to full strength, Telford saw another penalty go against them for tripping, handing Widnes another power play.
Bullock saw another shot saved, before Telford threatened for the first time in the game; Widnes netminder Phil Pearson did well to block a low shot as the Tigers counter attacked.
But the Wild were on the scoresheet again just under 15 minutes into the first period, moments after the Tigers’ penalty expired – Ryan Kemp fired in from the left-hand side to make it 3-0.
Widnes saw multiple shots saved as the first period drew to a close, with one strike deflecting off the Telford crossbar, but Pearson still had to be sharp at the other end to protect the Wilds’ three-goal lead.
Seconds before the buzzer to signal the end to the period, Wides’ Lee Kemp was handed a penalty for hooking, offering Telford a lifeline for the start of the second.
Widnes survived the Telford power play with ease, with no notable chances falling to either side.
Frustration seemed to grow among the Telford ranks, and a flare up involving Widnes’ Chris Gee saw ‘roughing’ penalties handed out to both sides after punches were thrown.
Seconds later, a barge against a Widnes player lead to another stoppage as the game began to heat up.
With both sides temporarily weakened, it was Widnes who struck with a rapid breakaway goal – Jakub Hajek skated through unassisted to finish a one-on-one to make it 4-0.
Shortly after both sides were restored to their full compliment of skaters, Wides’ Matt Tarpey was penalized for cross-checking, but the pressure from the home side continued to grow.
Some heroic defending from Widnes denied Telford their first goal of the game, before Bullock found Shaun Dipnall with a clever pass on the breakaway, who clinically finished to make it 5-0.
Almost directly from the restart though, Telford’s faint hopes of a comeback were revived as they found the net for the first time through Liam Preece.
The Tigers swapped their netminder following the fifth Widnes goal, but the replacement had no more luck in keeping the Wild out – Hajek grabbed his second of the game to restore the home sides five-goal lead.
The Tigers’ goal was peppered with shots for the remaining five minutes of the period, and Bullock eventually scored his second of the game moments before the buzzer, with a terrific finish from wide on the left-hand side.
The third period started in the same fashion as the previous two, with Widnes largely on top aside from sporadic Tigers counter attacks.
Three minutes in, Widnes’ Peter Toth scored his sides eighth of the evening, firing home from close range after a brief scramble.
Tempers flared again following the goal, with various penalties handed out by the officials, including a ten minute ‘incitement’ ruling against Mawer.
Widnes’ Matt Tarpey grabbed his first goal of the game to make it 9-1 following the incident, before a string of Telford penalties, including one for kicking, meant the game was briefly five skaters on three in Widnes’ favour.
The Wild were unable to capitalise though, and despite calls from the crowd for them to hit double figures, the game ended a resounding 9-1 in the home sides favour.
Widnes’ Peter Toth was awarded MVP for his side, after an impressive performance in his team’s second win of the season.
The result leaves Widnes seventh in the Laidler Division, four points behind Telford in fourth, with the caveat of having several games in hand on the teams above, due to their recent cup commitments.
For Widnes Wild, their next game sees Blackburn Hawks 1 visit Planet Ice, in another Laidler Division matchup.