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THIRD PERIOD LAPSE DOOMS WILD IN MERRITT

PHOTO: Defenseman Drew Bavaro (22) had a goal and an assist in Saturday action at Merritt.
CREDIT: Garrett James Photography

The Wenatchee Wild carried a 3-2 lead into the final period in Merritt Saturday night but a four-goal outburst from the Centennials to open the third period paved the way to a 6-4 loss for Wenatchee.

The Wild opened the scoring early on a power play at 1:58 when Brian Adams punched home the rebound of a Drew Bavaro shot. Bavaro added a 5-on-3 power play when he knocked down a clearing attempt and fired it on net from the top of the circles and it deflected in off a Merritt defender for a 2-0 lead at 5:39. Tyson Galloway got Merritt on the board two minutes later with a solid wrister from the blue line that went bar down. Late in the period, on a power play, Merritt forward Talon Zakall dumped the puck into the Wild zone from center ice and it took a quirky bounce in front of Noah Altman and angled through his leg pad to tie the game at 2-2 with :30 seconds to play in the first. Wenatchee regained the momentum with 6.5 seconds left in the first. Nick Cherkowski forced the puck low into the left-wing corner and Quinn Emerson cycled it along to Ethan Wolthers. Wolthers stepped out around the net on the goalie’s left-hand glove side and whipped it back across through the slot and Emerson snapped home the one-timer and Wenatchee held a 3-2 lead at the end of the first. The second period saw a combined five power play chances but neither side scored and the 3-2 Wild lead carried into the third period.

That’s when the momentum shifted the other way. Merritt scored three times in the span of just over two minutes and added one more for good measure and a 6-3 lead. The first one was a bouncing puck the Wild were unable to clear and Braydon Clark was able to glove it in the slot, drop and flip it past the glove of Altman at 1:17. At 2:52 Daniel Tkac finished off a Josh Kagan pass on a 2-on-1 rush, and Thomas Manty fired a slapshot from the left circle past the blocker at 3:36 to extend the Centennials lead to 5-3. Olson Werenka sent a wrister on the glove side at 7:28 to make it 6-3. The Wild added one late as Quinn Emerson picked off a pass and drove it home with :26 left in the game for the final 6-4 margin in the final game between the teams this regular season. The Wild finished 4-1-1 in the 6 games.

Wenatchee (13-11-4) returns home to open a four game homestand when they host the defending BCHL champion Prince George Spruce Kings (10-14-5) on Monday at the early start time of 6:00 pm. All games are video streamed live on HockeyTV.