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WILD ADVANCE AFTER THRILLING GAME 7 COMEBACK

PHOTO: Wild captain Lucas Sowder (11) led the way with three goals and an assist as the Wild closed out the series with West Kelowna on Monday night at Town Toyota Center. 
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

The Wenatchee Wild shook off a 2-0 first period deficit and roared back with a 6-3 win in Game 7 against the West Kelowna Warriors to advance to the second round of the BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs.

West Kelowna came out with a strong first period push, and on their second power play of the period, got a bounce when a shot deflected in off the shoulder of Lucas Cullen for a 1-0 lead. Willie Reim doubled the lead to 2-0 less than a minute later on a wrister from the high slot and the Warriors led 2-0 after the first period.

The second period was all Wenatchee as they seized control of the game. Third year veteran and team captain Lucas Sowder threw the team on his back and led the charge. Sowder got the Wild on the board picking the top glove side corner from the left circle at 1:56. He tied the game at 2 with a high blocker side snapshot from the same left circle at 4:47, then drove home a shorthanded goal low blocker side from the slot at 11:04 for the natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) and a 3-2 Wild lead. PJ Fletcher added to the lead when he punched home a pass from Murphy Stratton on the back door at 13:38 and Wenatchee led 4-2 after two periods.

The Warriors scored on a familiar looking play to make it a one-goal hockey game, as Lucas Cullen buried a breakaway chance with 11:21 still to play. Wenatchee regained their two-goal cushion when Fletcher ripped a wrister past Connor Hopkins, set up nicely on the rush by Blake Bargar. Brian Adams added an empty net goal for the final 6-3 margin to send the Wild to the Interior Division SemiFinals, where they will meet the Cowichan Valley Capitals, an Island Division team who crossed over as a Wild Card and stunned the top seeded Penticton Vees in six games. Austin Park earned the Game 7 win, stopping 34 of 37 shots.

The game schedule for the series against Cowichan Valley is being determined and will be announced shortly. The Wild own home ice advantage so it’s probable the series will open in Wenatchee the weekend of March 15.

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.