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PHOTO: AJ Vanderbeck (19) had three goals and two assists on the weekend as Wenatchee posted back-to-back wins to open the BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals.
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

by Arch Ecker

The visiting Prince George Spruce Kings scored first but the Wild responded with three unanswered goals on the way to a 4-2 win in Game 2 of the BCHL Fred Page Cup Finals on Saturday night with 3,462 fans inside Town Toyota Center.

It was Prince George who scored first when Blake Hawyard ripped a shot from the right wing boards at 4:58 in the opening period giving the Spruce Kings their first goal of the series. The Wild responded a pair of first period goals to take the lead. Wenatchee tied the game at 8:44 as AJ Vanderbeck helped muscle home a loose puck following some aggressive forecheck pressure. Lucas Sowder put the Wild up to stay on a gorgeous deke after receiving a crisp cross-rink feed from Vanderbeck, with the goal coming at 12:51. Wenatchee led 2-1 after 1, outshooting the Spruce Kings 14-7 in the period. The game was 100% penalty free through the first 40 minutes, and the lone goal of the second period was a backhand to close out a breakaway by AJ Vanderbeck at 17:28 and the Wild led 3-1 after 2. Just over six minutes into the final period, Hayward struck again with an identical shot from the same spot to cut the Wild to 3-2. It was one of just three shots on goal for Prince George in the final frame, and Jasper Weatherby sealed the win with an empty net goal as the Wild won the game 4-2 to pull ahead to a 2-0 best-of-seven series lead, remaining perfect on home ice in the postseason at 10-0. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Prince George at 7:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday. If the series requires a Game 5, it will be played in Wenatchee on Thursday night at 7:05 pm.