Widnes Wild conceded their second defeat in as many days, when they were crushed 5-1 by Billingham Stars at Planet Ice Widnes.
The Wild beat the Stars five times out of six encounters last season, but it was a different story on Sunday evening, as the team from Durham came out as comfortable winners.
Although new signing Jacob Corson-Heron debuted to add to the Wild firepower, the tale of the match was similar to last week when the two sides went head-to-head, with the Stars then winning 6-3.
⚫️🟡 GAMEDAY 🟡⚫️
📍 Planet Ice Widnes
— YKK Widnes Wild (@WidnesWild) October 23, 2022
The visitors controlled the early proceedings and set the tone for the evening by going a goal up. An initial effort was clipped away by Widnes shot stopper Miles Finney; the puck was recycled before Chris Sykes set up Michael Elder to crash it home.
The hosts struggled to gain any spell of possession throughout the first period, with any half chances being slashed horribly wide.
A breakaway by the Stars was the last real opportunity of the opening 20 minutes. The puck arrived at Shaun Galloway who directed his attempt straight into the mask of Finney.
The Wild looked a stronger outfit after the interval. Thomas Brown had to make some crucial saves to prevent the Wild from equalising.
Despite their attempts to get back into the game, a quickfire Billingham double put the game out of sight. The first coming from a neat finish by 16-year-old Finn Bradon. Elder then doubled his tally to stretch the game to a three-goal lead.
The home team were clearly frustrated by their performance and let their emotions show when a Wild player was struck on the ice. Joey Coulter was sent to the penalty box for his reaction.
Just as the second period was approaching an end, the Stars netted a fourth. Sykes had assisted the first of the match and claimed one of his own, giving Finney no chance with his hit.
Final huddles 🏒 pic.twitter.com/dQv6qmwyGK
— Wild Match Night (@WildMatchNight) October 23, 2022
Widnes did enter a consolation in the third period. Defender Jonathan Williamson skated up from the back to lay the puck off for Nathan Britton who buried his chance.
Wild then applied the pressure with the home crowd raising the volume to get behind their team.
Billingham had numerous penalties nearing the final bell, but also had the last say in the match. The hosts had pulled their goalie forward seeking a late goal and Sykes was in the right position to snatch his second of the evening and rub salt in Wild’s wounds.
Widnes Wild will look to bounce back next Saturday (Oct 29), when they travel to Sheffield Scimitars for a 7:30pm start.