Deeside Dragons preserved their NIHL North Moralee D1 status after securing a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory over Widnes Wild on Sunday.
Scott McKenzie’s team went into the game at Blackburn Ice Arena on the back of an impressive 8-6 win against Blackburn Hawks the previous day, but they were pushed hard by their D2 opponents.
McKenzie (3) and James Parsons (2) led the scoring for the Dragons in their win against the Hawks to set up the promotion/relegation play-off game.
Jordan Bannon (2) and Filip Supa were on target for the North Wales outfit during regular time, with Bobby Caunce, Nick Manning and Bez Hughes replying for Widnes.
A penalty call on Wild’s Stuart Brittle in the 63rd minute proved to be the pivotal moment, with the Dragons taking full advantage of the extra man just a minute later.
McKenzie drove his team forward and set up Parsons to fire home the winner and spark scenes of wild celebration on and off the ice.
With the Dragons guaranteed another season in D1, McKenzie paid tribute to his team’s resilience.
“The guys feel like they’ve won a trophy – they’re really, really happy,” said McKenzie.
“Widnes have got some good players and there might be a bit of bad blood with me leaving there, but the game was played with pride and passion and a real play-off mentality.
“Both teams didn’t want to lose and credit to them for the way they kept coming back – they made it really difficult for us.
“I’m just grateful we got the win and I’m delighted that it was James Parsons who got the goal.
“He’s a natural leader and he’s been an outstanding player in this league this year.
“Our fans were absolutely amazing too. We never question our support – they’re absolutely brilliant and we really appreciate it. Everything we do is for them.”
NIHL North Moralee D1
Blackburn Hawks 6-8 Deeside Dragons
NIHL North promotion/relegation play/off
Deeside Dragons 4-3 Widnes Wild (OT)
(Image permission: PSD-Images)