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PHOTO: Wild goalie Daniel Chenard (32) celebrates Saturday’s shootout win. 
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

It took nine rounds of a shootout to seal the deal, but the Wenatchee Wild defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters by a final score of 2-1 on Saturday night at Town Toyota Center. In doing so, Wenatchee has mathematically secured a berth in the BCHL Playoffs, becoming the 11th team to do so.

The game opened much like the one played on Friday between these Interior Division foes, with a brisk pace and plenty of physical play. The Wild scored first at the 14:00 mark on a Drake Usher shot from the left point that grazed a defender and found the back of the net, assisted by Ethan Wolthers and Jerrett Overland. It was Usher’s third goal of the year, but the lead was erased just :27 seconds later when Trail’s Owen Ozar stepped out of the left wing corner and danced across the top of the crease unchecked, outlasting Wild goalie Daniel Chenard and firing it in behind him on the glove side and the game remained tied through the end of the period.

A scoreless second period gave way to a scoreless third period as well, and while both teams had power play chances and moments of sustained five-on-five pressure, the game headed into three-on-three overtime. Both goaltenders were solid through 65 minutes of play, and the game headed to be decided in a shootout.

The shootout extended into the ninth round, with each side having scored on two of eight attempts. Hunter Hastings, the Wild’s ninth shooter muscled a wrister than powered through goalie Logan Terness for the game winning score. Also scoring for the Wild in the shootout were Nick Cafarelli and Matt Dorsey. Daniel Chenard stopped 26 of 27 shots in game play and 7 of 9 breakaway chances in the shootout for his fifteenth win of the year.

Wenatchee (23-20-4) heads out on the road to face Vernon (24-20-3) Wednesday and then Trail (30-14-5) again on Friday. The games will be broadcast and streamed online with NewsRadio 560 KPQ, with the Pregame Shows airing at 6:45 pm. All games are video streamed live on HockeyTV. Watch Party location is Bob’s Burgers and Brew.

Wild playoff ticket packages go on sale Monday January 27 at 10:00 am in the Wild office. Call 509-888-7825.