PHOTO: Forward Jasper Weatherby assisted on both the game-tying and game winning goals as the Wild downed Langley 4-2 on Saturday night. CREDIT: Garrett James Photography
by Arch Ecker
Trailing 2-0 after one period on the road, the Wenatchee Wild rallied with four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 win over the Langley Rivermen at George Preston Recreation Centre on Saturday night in front of a loud, raucous band of Wild fans whose energy was palpable in the building.
The Mainland Division leading Rivermen pounced early, with Brady Berger putting back an off-pad rebound :39 seconds into the game. Angus Crookshank snapped a shot through the arm and body of Seth Eisele at 5:31 for a 2-0, prompting a Wenatchee goaltending change with Austin Park coming into the game. Langley successfully killed off four consecutive Wild power plays into the second period but the tenacious Wild got on the board at 9:39 when Jared Christy backhanded a loose puck into the net and Wenatchee trailed 2-1 after, outshooting the Rivermen 21-10 through the opening 40 minutes. However, a double minor penalty on Sam Morton for high sticking at 19:04 set up 44 seconds of 5-on-3 power play for Langley, and an opportunity to add to their lead. However, twenty seconds after the penalty expired in the third period, Morton took a pass from Jasper Weatherby and drilled it high on the blocker side from the left circle to tie the game at 2-2. The turning point came with the Wild shorthanded, when August Von Ungern-Sternberg stole the puck from Angus Crookshank and stepped in alone on the goalie, drawing a slash from Crookshank that set the teams back even skating 4 on 4. Twelve seconds later, a Lucas Sowder shot in traffic was blocked and set by Weatherby to Zak Galambos whose initial wraparound was denied but his follow-up attempt found the net for a 3-2 Wild lead. Late in the period as the Rivermen tried to pull their goalie for the extra skater, Lucas Sowder held the puck in at the blue line on a failed zone clear attempt, slipping it down to AJ Vanderbeck who drove it home with 11 seconds left in the game for the 4-2 come-from-behind victory. Austin Park stopped all 11 shots he faced for the win. For the Wild, their win streak grows to a season high four games. For Langley, the loss was their first regulation home loss of the year (now 8-1-2). The Wild, with 31 points are in a three-way tie for third place with West Kelowna and Penticton.
Wenatchee (15-7-0-1) concludes their three game weekend with a Sunday 4 pm matinee in Surrey (13-10-2-1) before returning home for a three-game set. Group ticket packages are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: https://youtu.be/Gavrmsil-ck