Widnes Wild Player/Coach Richard Haggar is positive with three of his sides’ remaining four games being played at home.
With points becoming a precious commodity as teams ready themselves for the play-offs in April Haggar looks ahead at his sides’ remaining four games.
“We’re pushing to secure that third place now, so having the home fans behind us for these games that are upcoming is going to be our extra man on the ice to hopefully secure that third place.”
The Wild secured back-to-back wins in their most recent games against the Solihull Barons and Blackburn Hawks.
They are facing the Hawks again this weekend but are on home ice this time looking to secure two more points.
Billingham Home and Away
They then face Billingham Stars on the Sunday and will face them once more the following week in their last away game of the League season.
Billingham currently sit in sixth in the table meaning if Widnes secure third spot they could face the Stars in the play-offs.
This isn’t something Haggar is think about too much, saying: “We play everybody four times anyway through the season and yes we’re going to be playing them twice towards the end, however that middle part of the table is very congested, so I think we just take it each game as it comes.”
Having already played the Stars twice and not having lost to them yet Haggar could be optimistic, but he remains focused.
“We’ve played them twice and yes, we’ve beaten them twice, but by no means is it guaranteed to win in either of those games.
“They’ve got some good shooters, they’ve got one of the top points scorers in the league and they’ve also got some young kids that are coming through that are very talented.”
He continued: “I’ve seen throughout this season that they’ve given many young kids the opportunity, like myself they’ve got a good setup, they want to develop kids and give them the opportunity, so good on them for doing that!”
Billingham are the most in-form team in the league currently having won 4 of their last five games so they aren’t pushovers by any means.
A significant recent win for them beating Solihull 6-2 away from home shows their strength and the threat they pose.
Widnes will then round their season off against Sheffield Scimitars in Planet Ice Widnes to hopefully seal third.
Widnes have faced the side five times so far including two Moralee Cup fixtures, they have won three of these games and lost the other two.
Haggar spoke about this, saying: “Their teams changed throughout the season, they’ve had players coming and going some benefitting some not benefitting, and I think that’s why you never know what team they’re going to turn up with.
“That’s been the difficulty with them this year, you don’t particularly know what to expect from Sheffield either, so it’s a bit unpredictable.”
Whatever team does turn up it could prove to be two vital points for the Wild to really finish on a high before play-offs.
Securing Third is Priority
Widnes’ third spot finish does seem to be more and more secure by the day with a four-point gap over Solihull.
This is with a game in-hand as well, which means the gap could get even wider providing the Wild win this weekend.
Haggar spoke on this, saying: “I think the aim at the moment for the team is to secure that third place, it’s been the challenge all season, it’s been the aim, especially as the new team in the league.
“We’ve wanted to do our best and prove that we are capable and deserve to be in this league, and I think that third place was the aim of where we wanted to be.”
He continued: “We’d have to beat Billingham on Sunday to secure that third place, because they’re the only ones that could catch us, however as we said before we’ve got to take it game by game.”
With the finish line in sight for Division One North the pressure is on for all teams to finish as high as possible.
For Widnes a third placed finish in their debut season will be a great success and they will look to the play-offs, and potentially more silverware.