Widnes Wild 1 Motor Nation Solihull Barons 10
THE MOTOR Nation Solihull Barons launched their English Ice Hockey Association Laidler Division title defence in defiant form with a convincing win at Widnes Wild on Saturday evening.
Despite the scoreline, the trip north could easily have tripped up any Barons side not prepared to give Widnes adequate respect.
The Cheshire side, well run and enthusiastically supported, pushed Solihull close in last season’s play-offs and, with the Barons missing a number of key players for this season opener, any complacency could easily have been punished.
Any concerns Solihull may have had regarding the tie were eased early on, as Andy Whitehouse got the opening goal after just over a minute and the lead was doubled shortly afterwards as Tom Soar picked up his first goal of the night.
Barons’ pressure continued through the first period, with Joe Henry racking up a hat-trick through the middle of the first period, which was wrapped up by Tom Soar to give the Barons a convincing 6-0 lead as the sides headed to the dressing room.
A swap of netminders for the Wild saw GB ladies keeper Nicole Jackson help steady the ship through the second period for the home side. Indeed, Jackson kept a clean sheet throughout the second twenty against continuous Solihull pressure, while Bobby Caunce helped pull a goal back for the Wild.
The final period saw the Barons back in free-scoring mode with a hat-trick for Connor Hubbuck, with defenceman Phil Knight also finding the net to leave the result a perhaps surprisingly convincing win for Solihull.
The Barons are back at home on Sunday when they take on Blackburn Eagles at Hobs Moat in a top of table clash. This will be the only visit of the Eagles to Solihull this season and the game will be played for double points, so a victory will be essential to maintain the Barons’ momentum. Face-off is 6pm.