After a disappointing loss away in Bradford, Sens were hoping to end the unbeaten run of Widnes and gain some ground on the team at the top of the table.
Sens started the game well creating some good scoring chances, as did Widnes but it was the Sens who struck first when a drop pass from George Crawshaw found Tom Humphries who put it high in the net after 7 minutes to make it 1-0. The first period continued to play out just as the Sens hoped, with their speed and transition working nicely and Elliott Knell made it 2-0 after driving wide, cutting to the net and finding the net on the short side. Neither side could take any further advantage with Widnes having a few powerplays, but Mark Hartley standing strong and ending the period at 2-0.
The second saw some more close play for both teams and it was just after 10 minutes gone when Tom Proctor scored to make it 3-0 to the home side and seemingly putting the game out of sight. However, just a minute later ex Sheffield Spartan and now Widnes player/coach Oliver Barron managed to get to the slot and pull one back. As the goal went in a collision between Barron and Arran Bell happened and the referee deemed it fit to call a strange roughing call on Bell for what seemed to be accidental. As he was skating to the box the referee then skating in front of Bell and then gave a 10 misconduct, a call that appeared more strange than the original 2 minutes. With two player’s now sitting in the box for 10 minutes, Joel Aheran getting one after a fight, the Sens resources were depleting and they had to alter the lines. This proved costly, with the change of lines and Sens player’s losing their heads allowing Oliver Barron to get his second of the night and make it 3-2 to end the second but not before the fourth misconduct of the night for the Sens on George Crawshaw made it even tougher.
In what was always going to be a close fought game with both teams aiming for at least a playoff space, and then the top spot the Sens hoped that they had managed to again take the game away from Widnes when Tom Proctor scored his second of the night making it 4-2. Just a few minutes later a breakaway chance where Sens hit the crossbar proved to be costly, as Oliver Barron scored his hat-tick bringing it back to 4-3. A powerplay with ten minutes left gave the Sens a great opportunity, but it was their downfall when a turnover allowed Stuart Brittle to score short handed and even the game up. With the final few minutes counting down, it looked like the new overtime period was on the cards but Widnes had other things on their mind and Stuart Brittle, another ex Sheffield Spartan, scored his second and gave Widnes their first lead of the night. One last push from the Sens with a powerplay with 60 seconds remaining gave them a good chance to even it up, but it was not to be as Widnes held on to take what at one stage was an unlikely victory 4-5.
Sens will be extremely disappointed to not take 2 points from their rivals, letting the decisions from the referee get to them and not concentrating on their own game. But there were some positives in how they managed to get to 3-0 up with some nice play against a strong Widnes team. The Sheffield connection proved to be the decisive factor, with 3 ex Spartans getting 11 out of 13 points for the Wild.
Mark Hartley – 21/5 76.19%
Matt Croyle – 26/4 84.62%
Tom Proctor – 2+0 Elliott Knell – 1+2 Tom Humphries – 1+0 George Crawshaw, Stevie Weeks, Nathan Britton & Ryan Fraley – 0+1