PHOTO: Murphy Stratton (6) and Lucas Sowder celebrate following Stratton’s third period power play goal.
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
The Wenatchee Wild opened their first-round playoff series against the West Kelowna Warriors and rode a dominant second period to a 5-4 win, claiming a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 is Sunday in Wenatchee at 6 pm.
The lone goal of the first period was scored by West Kelowna’s Mike Hardman, the Warriors leading scorer who fired a backhander from the right circle following a rink-wide pass and the 1-0 lead stood through the end of the first period. Wild goalie Austin Park was challenged with a pair of breakaways in the opening frame but he made great stops each time. In the second period, the Wild erupted. Murphy Stratton converted a power play chance at 3:44, and Blake Bargar swatted home a backhander just over a minute later and the Wild had a lead they would not relinquish. Matt Dorsey added to his personal highlight reel after taking the puck down the left wing, pulled it between his feet to elude the defenseman then drove the net, tucking the shot around Warrior goalie Connor Hopkins for a 3-1 lead. Wenatchee held a 30-11 shots on goal advantage through the first 40 minutes.
Two minutes into the third, it was Dorsey leading the way on a 3-on-1 break. He saucered a pass from the left wing across to Brandon Koch, and his initial shot was denied but Blake Bargar was right there to drive home the rebound for a 4-1 lead. The Warriors continued to generate chances, and they started to pay off. Parm Dhaliwal was left wide open for a score to make it 4-2, then Lucas Cullen got a tip on a Chase Dubois shot from the blue line that found the net and the Wild lead had been trimmed to 4-3. Murphy Stratton scored a power play goal following a nice pass from Matt Dorsey to give Wenatchee some insurance, and it proved invaluable as the Warriors’ drilled home a power play goal of their own with 1:34 left to play, with Mike Hardman getting his second of the night. West Kelowna pulled the goalie for the extra attacker but were unable to knot the score and the Wild held on for the 5-4 final, earning the Game 1 win and a 1-0 series lead. Matt Dorsey finished with 4 points (1g, 3a), and Austin Park stopped 23 of 27 shots.
Wenatchee playoff games are available for video streaming on HockeyTV, and will be broadcast live both locally and via internet stream on “NewsRadio 560 KPQ”, with the Pregame Shows starting 15 minutes prior to faceoff.