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PHOTO CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

by Arch Ecker

The Wenatchee Wild scored six unanswered goals to cap a 9-2 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night at Town Toyota Center with 2,717 fans roaring their approval.

Second year forward Jasper Weatherby scored the first goal of the game, the last goal of the game, and in between he collected a third goal and a pair of assists for a five-point night. The first came at 15:22 of the first period, a beautiful finish of a 4-on-2 rush with pinpoint passing from linemates AJ Vanderbeck and Lucas Sowder along with Cooper Zech, the latter of the two earning assists. The Wild held West Kelowna to a single shot on goal in the opening period.

Team captain AJ Vanderbeck rifled home a shot one second after the expiration of a Wild power play for a 2-0 lead at 1:03 of the second, and Weatherby shoveled home a rebound two seconds after a Wild power play expired to make it 3-0 at 5:45, chasing starting Warrior goalie Cole Demers. 40 seconds later, West Kelowna got on the board as Chase Dubois’ shot found the net off the arm of Seth Eisele from the left circle, then pulled to within a goal at Jake Harrison’s knuckler from the midpoint bounced off at least two players and crossed the goal line to pull the Warriors to within 3-2. The Wild regained control at 14:25 with a delayed penalty hanging in the balance as Murphy Stratton fed a pass to Sam Morton who ripped it high blocker side for a 4-2 lead. Before the period ended, Jared Christy forced a turnover, then walked in alone and deftly slid the puck between the legs of goalie Cody Porter for a 5-2 edge.

In the third period, Wenatchee appeared to have scored during the “Minute To Win It” promotion on a Zak Galambos shot from the top of the circles that illuminated the goal light but was declared “no goal” by the referee. Three minutes later, Slava Demin scored a power play goal that was, again without explanation, washed out by the referee. AJ Vanderbeck netted his second of the night at the final second of a major power play at 6:50, and Lucas Sowder flicked home a rebound of a Jasper Weatherby chance at 10:51 also on the power play for a 7-2 lead. Sam Morton registered his second of the night and tenth of the year from Weatherby and Sowder, also on a power play. Then Weatherby finished the scoring with a hat trick, as he jammed home the loose puck from an AJ Vanderbeck shot that the Warriors goalie failed to squeeze at 15:59 for the final 9-2 margin. Wenatchee outshot West Kelowna 43-16 on the night.

Wenatchee (12-7-0-1) concludes the brief two game homestand on Saturday night as they face the Prince George Spruce Kings (11-7-2-3) on “Military Appreciation Night”. Group ticket packages are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825. Our next Wild Nation Fan Bus trip is heading to Langley and Surrey on Nov. 18-19, and registration closes at the end of the game Saturday night. Contact the Wild office to reserve your spot.