PHOTO: Matt Dorsey scored two goals including the game winner as Wenatchee skated to a 6-3 win on Friday.
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
The Wenatchee Wild came into Friday’s home game against West Kelowna trailing the Warriors by a single point in the BCHL Interior Division. When the final horn sounded, it was Wenatchee who had moved a point ahead of the Warriors thanks to a 6-3 win in front of more than 2,000 fans at Town Toyota Center.
The first period saw both sides work at a brisk pace, trading shots fairly evenly. West Kelowna scored first when Chase Dubois found a loose rebound for an easy finish but the Wild responded to tie the game less than two minutes later on a tic-tac-toe pass play from Murphy Stratton to Lucas Sowder and then Matt Dorsey for the goal at the side of the crease. West Kelowna was able to regain the lead on a Willie Reim wrister from the high slot through a screen that eluded Austin Park on the blocker side. The Warriors lead grew to 3-1 when Dubois tipped an Eric Olson point shot past Park’s glove hand and the Wild took a two-goal deficit into the first intermission.
When the second period began, Cal Sandquist had been brought into the game, relieving Austin Park. Continuing to attack at a brisk pace, Wenatchee pulled back to within a goal at 3:43 of the second period when Josh Arnold skated off with a Blake Bargar pass that quickly became a 2-on-1, and Arnold saucered a pass to AJ Hodges who drilled it home from the left wing. A minute and a half later, PJ Fletcher wired a hard wrister from the high slot past the glove hand of Warrior goalie Connor Hopkins to tie the game at 3-3, where it stayed through the end of the second period.
It was late in the third when Wenatchee broke the tie. A Trevor Griebel shot angled off the glass behind the net and was collected by Matt Dorsey and tucked in neatly for a 4-3 lead with 3:55 left to play. Seven seconds later, a Wild penalty put West Kelowna on the power play, and they opted to pull their goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Nathan Iannone golfed the puck out of the defensive zone, and Matt Gosiewski chased it down, firing it into the empty net for a 5-3 lead on the shorthanded empty-net strike. Opting to pull the goaltender again, the Warriors net was unguarded as Blake Bargar drove up the left side, but when he was tripped from behind, he was awarded a goal that made it 6-3, the eventual final. Had there been a goalie in the net, the infraction would have warranted a penalty shot, but by rule, if the same infraction occurs with the net empty, the result is a goal being awarded.
Cal Sandquist turned in a strong performance, denying all 15 shots he faced in 40 minutes of work. Josh Arnold extended his streak to nine games with a point, averaging 2 points per game in the stretch (6 goals, 12 assists). Matt Dorsey also has a healthy streak, now sitting at 8 games. Friday’s win moves the Wild into third place, five points behind first-place Penticton and four points behind Merritt.
Wenatchee (15-10-2) and West Kelowna (15-11-0-1) meet for the final time this season Saturday. The game will be available for video streaming on HockeyTV, and will be broadcast live both locally and via internet stream on “NewsRadio 560 KPQ”, with the Pregame Show starting at 6:45 pm.