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PHOTO: Murphy Stratton scored twice in the first period as the Wild went on to a 7-2 victory over Langley on Saturday night.
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
More game photos at wildhockeyphotos.com

by Arch Ecker

The Wenatchee Wild wrapped up their longest homestand of the season with a resounding 7-2 win over the Langley Rivermen on Saturday night during “Faith and Family Night” with more than 3,000 fans in attendance at Town Toyota Center. The win also clinched home ice advantage for the Wild for the opening round of the playoffs.

Wenatchee scored a power play goal to get things started in the first period, with Murphy Stratton converting at 3:19, assisted by Jasper Weatherby and Cooper Zech. He scored again at even strength set up by AJ Vanderbeck and Zech. Vanderbeck grew the lead to 3-0 in the second, firing home a Jacob Modry pass with Slava Demin also getting an assist. Langley cracked the score column at 8:45 on a rebound, lifted home by Connor Marshall, but a Sam Morton power play goal following a beautiful dish from Stratton put the Wild back up by 3. Less than a minute later, Sam Hesler backhand swept a loose puck under the goalie to make it 5-1, and Jasper Weatherby scored a power play goal when his crossing pass was deflected into the net by a Langley defender and Wenatchee led 6-1 after two periods. In the final frame, Lucas Sowder snapped home a nice feed from Cooper Zech, and Langley got a second goal from Connor Marshall for the final 7-2 margin. Seth Eisele made a handful of solid saves, 20 in all for the win.

Defenseman Cooper Zech had a 4-assist night, moving his total to 51 playing in his 50th game of the year. He’s the top scoring defenseman in the BCHL and third highest among all skaters. Jasper Weatherby continues to lead the league with 67 points.

The win for Wenatchee assures them of home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. They also move ahead of Vernon into sole possession of second place. Both teams have played 50 games, meaning the Wild control their own destiny in terms of angling for a second place finish. Penticton holds two games in hand on both Wenatchee and Vernon.

Wenatchee (33-13-3-1) embarks on a three game Island Division road swing with stops in Nanaimo, Alberni Valley, and Victoria. The Wild return home Feb. 16 and 17 against Trail for the final two home games of the regular season. Group ticket packages for all games are on sale now at the Wild office by calling 509-888-7825.