The Senators lined up on Saturday 25th November against Widnes Wild for the first of a 2 game weekend.
The Sens and Wild last met on the 22nd October, where the Sens edged a thrilling game coming out 4-3
winners to tie the series against the Wild. Since that meeting however, the Sens have suffered a dip in form,
losing 3 straight games following the victory against the Wild.
The Sens, in desperate need of a return to winning ways and keen to take the advantage in the series against
the Wild, knew that a strong performance was in order. The game also saw a debut for Solomon Smith, a
talented new signing for the Sens and our U20s looking to bolster the Sens defence.
The Senators opened the first period the brightest, keen to shake off the shadow of the previous 3 games
and get back to their best. Consistent pressure in attack saw the Sens rewarded with the opening goal of the
game on 7 mins, with Lewis Otley dispossessing the Wild and powering up the ice, hitting the top corner
with an impressively taken finish from distance to cap off an unassisted goal. The Wild appeared to be shaken
by the opener and conceded a second just a minute later, with George Crawshaw slotting home a neat shot,
following an incisive pass from Paul Lofthouse. The first period closed with a 2-0 scoreline to the Sens.
The Wild came out with a bang in the 2nd period, keen to overturn the dominance the Sens showed in the
1st. Nick Manning opened the scoring for the wild 30 seconds into the 2nd period, seizing a fortunate bounce
from a point shot behind the net that left the Sens open on the back post, with Manning wasting no time
hitting the net. The 2nd period was a tense affair, with both teams seeing penalties and the 2nd being the
most penalised period for both teams. The Wild and Sens each weathered end to end attacks and the period
ended 2-1 to the Sens, setting up a tense third.
The 3rd period continued where the 2nd left off, with each team applying consistent pressure and testing the
others defence and goalkeeping. It would be the Wild who capitalised though, with Stuart Brittle carrying the
puck with speed and firing hard and low into the Sens net. As the period progressed, both teams saw
opportunities, but the Sens showed much improvement in defence and rediscovered the solidity required to
keep the Wild at bay. With Overtime looming, the Sens began to apply more and more pressure, with
tenacious and relentless pressure in the Wild zone seeing a an opportunity created on 59 mins, with Nathan
Britton latching onto a deft pass from Ryan Fraley and quickly firing an accurate top corner finish past the
Wild keeper to give the Sens the late lead. A frantic final minute saw the Sens defending resolutely, with the
Wild pulling their goalkeeper to give a man’s advantage and still unable to find a way through.
As the final buzzer went, the Sens celebrated a return to winning ways, a 2-1 series lead over the Wild and a
very impressive team performance. The MOTM for the Senators went to Mark Hartley, with the Sens keeper
again showing his wealth of experience and skill to repeatedly stand big when called upon. Hartley, who
posted a 95.2% save average from 42 shots in the game was clearly deserving of the award.
Stats – Mark Hartley – 42/2 95.24%
Lewis Otley, Nathan Britton & George Crawshaw – 1+0
Paul Lofthouse & Ryan Fraley – 0+1