PHOTO: Sam Hesler celebrates his go-ahead goal that proved to be the game winner in the third period on Wednesday night at Town Toyota Center. CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
by Arch Ecker
The Wenatchee Wild clawed back from an early two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 win over the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night at Town Toyota Center.
Sporting the BCHL’s top power play unit coming in, the Wild surrendered two shorthanded goals against within the first ten minutes of the game. Jagger Williamson scored the first of the two, unassisted after he chased down a shot he had blocked and fired it home from the left circle for a 1-0 Vernon lead at 2:49. Then it was Keyvan Mohktari who stole the puck away in the Wild zone and skirted around goalie Seth Eisele for a 2-0 Viper lead, built on two shorthanded goals against a team who had allowed only two shorthanded goals in their last 67 games plus. But the Wild chipped away, getting on the board when Sam Morton fired a wrister from the right-wing circle that Daniel Chladek got a piece of at 12:16 and Wenatchee trailed 2-1 at the end of the first. Chad Sasaki wired a shot through traffic on the power play in the opening minute of the second period to tie the game, assisted by Cooper Zech and Jack Lippis, and then the Wild clamped down, allowing just two Viper shots in the middle frame. The comeback was completed in the third period. Sam Hesler won a faceoff in the left circle, and right winger Jack Lippis pushed the puck back to Cooper Zech at the left point. Zech got the shot through traffic and was stopped by Viper netminder Anthony Yamnitsky, but Hesler stuffed home the rebound to put Wenatchee up 3-2. The Vipers took a late penalty and were shorthanded for 2:00 of the final 2:10, and pulled Yamnitsky for the extra skater with 1:00 left, but the Wild held on for the win.
Wenatchee (6-3-0-1) now heads to West Kelowna Friday night to meet the first place Warriors, and then the Wild return home to face the Merritt Centennials on Saturday, which will be Team Poster Night. Group ticket packages are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825. Fan bus trips are also now on sale, with the next one heading to Langley on Nov. 18-19. Contact the Wild office to reserve your spot.