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PHOTO: Brandon Koch (3) scored the “Teddy Bear Toss” goal as the Wild went on to a 4-3 overtime win over Salmon Arm on Friday night. 
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

The Wenatchee Wild only have one game on the schedule this week, so they made it a good one. On Friday night, the Wild scored a first period goal to launch a barrage of teddy bears onto the ice for the annual promotion, then the teams battled into overtime, giving the 2,519 in attendance a little extra free hockey. Wenatchee sent the home fans away happy with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to maintain sole possession of first place.

Wenatchee’s first goal brought on the onslaught of teddy bears, collected for “Operation Santa Claus”. It was a shorthanded goal, the Wild’s league leading eighth of the season. Brandon Koch drilled home a fat rebound of a Lucas Sowder attempt at 11:04 of the first. The Silverbacks tied it when a blocked shot bounced to neutral ice, setting up a Salmon Arm breakaway chance that was initially thwarted by Cal Sandquist but the rebound was put neatly away by John Little at 13:58. Murphy Stratton put the Wild ahead 2-1 early in the second as he snapped home a Lucas Sowder pass on a 2-on-1 rush, only to see Salmon Arm tie the game at 2 on a Hudson Schandor shot that prompted a Wild goalie change with 7:53 left in the second. The Silverbacks didn’t get another shot on goal the rest of the period. Christophe Fillion put Wenatchee up 3-2 late in the second, punching home a crisp pass from Murphy Stratton, but Salmon Arm took advantage of Wild penalties in the third to tie the game on a power play at 6:49. The game headed to overtime, and was decided when Lucas Sowder generated a pass while on his belly in the left wing corner that Matt Gosiewski blistered home for the 4-3 final . Sowder had three assists in his first game back from injury to reclaim the team’s scoring lead. Stratton also had a three point night (1g, 2a). Austin Park stopped 12 of 13 shots for the win.

Nine wins in a row is the most for the Wild since joining the BCHL. The all-time franchise record is ten.

Wenatchee (22-10-2) heads north to face the Trail Smoke Eaters (12-17-5-3) on Wednesday, December 19. 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.