PHOTO CREDIT: Wayne Moore / Castanet
by Arch Ecker
After spotting the West Kelowna Warriors to a 3-1 lead, the Wenatchee Wild came back to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime before falling to the Warriors in the extra session on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
West Kelowna got the first goal with an extra skater on the ice as a result of a pending delayed penalty call. A shot from the left wing wall encountered traffic in front before bouncing in off the Warriors Lucas Cullen for a 1-0 lead. Just under a minute later, strong forechecking from Jackson Wozniak forced a turnover behind the Warrior net which Wozniak centered to Jared Christy for the tying marker on a tight backhander. West Kelowna retook the lead on a 4-on-3 power play goal late in the period, a Willie Reim backhander upstairs off a rebound. Tyler Jutting scored his first of the year as his blue line offering caught a piece of a Wild defender’s stick sending it past Austin Park just inside the glove side post and the Wild trailed 3-1. Both goaltenders were making tremendous stops at either end, but the Wild closed the gap to 3-2 when Jasper Weatherby put back the rebound of a Zak Galambos point shot at 10:56 of the second, and the score held until midway through the final period when AJ Vanderbeck potted a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 3-3, eventually sending the game to overtime. Both sides traded quality chances in the brief extra session but a Wild turnover proved costly as RJ Murphy pounced on a loose puck and slipped it home at 2:36 of the first overtime to end the Warriors three game losing streak and cut the Wild win streak off at two.
The Wild earned 5 out of 6 possible points on a division road swing where a stomach virus ran rampant through the majority of the players at one point or another. Wenatchee sits in third place, 5 points behind first place Vernon and 2 points behind second place Penticton.
Wenatchee (19-8-2-1) comes home Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30 pm to meet the Trail Smoke Eaters (19-9-2-0). Group ticket packages for all games are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825. Please note the early start time for the Wednesday game.