PHOTO CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
by Arch Ecker
The Wenatchee Wild dedicated the night to service personnel with pregame and intermission ceremonies on “Military Appreciation Night”, then treated the 3,290 in attendance to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night. The win completes a weekend sweep after the Wild topped West Kelowna 9-2 on Friday.
With the Wild donning specially designed jerseys that resembled bomber jackets and bore insignias of military branches, they invited the Spruce Kings to participate in the display of a 30-foot US flag at center ice, as the crowd was encouraged to sing the Star Spangled Banner. A serviceman rappelled from the rafters to drop the ceremonial puck, and a swear-in ceremony was conducted on ice between periods. Aside from all the related events, there was a hockey game with some pretty important available points on the table.
For the second night in a row, Jasper Weatherby gave his team a lead, this one on a power play at 7:50 of the first period. The man advantage was a result of a goaltender interference call on Prince George captain Kyle Johnson who bulldozed Wild goalie Austin Park after driving down the right wing. Later in the period, Ben Poisson tied it up at 10:55, also on the power play, then the Spruce Kings grabbed a 2-1 lead with 2:04 left in the first as Patrick Cozzi snuck a low shot off the draw past Park and the Wild trailed 2-1 after 1.
At 12:40 of the second period, Wenatchee tied it at 2-2 when Sam Morton got a piece of a Jacob Modry shot from the left point, set up by Jackson Wozniak. The Wild retook the lead at 14:24 as AJ Vanderbeck sizzled a shot from the left circle that deflected past the Prince George goalie, assisted by Noah Kim and Jasper Weatherby. That 3-2 lead was good enough to secure the win as Wenatchee outshot Prince George 13-3 in the final period.
Wenatchee (13-7-0-1) heads off on a three game roadtrip next weekend to Coquitlam, Langley, and Surrey before returning home for a three-game set. Group ticket packages are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825.