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WILD FALL TO WARRIORS IN WEST KELOWNA

(PHOTO: Parker Murray (26) notched a hat trick but the Wild fell to the Warriors, 7-4. CREDIT: Tami Quan)

The Wenatchee Wild (11-11-5) took to the road on Saturday to face the West Kelowna Warriors (20-12-0) following a two-game home sweep of the Cranbrook Bucks at Town Toyota Center on Thursday and Friday. It was the fourth meeting of the year against the Warriors, with the Wild going 1-1-1 in the first three and the road team winning each time. It was the 26th meeting all-time, with the Wild holding a 7-4-1 edge in games played at Royal LePage Place.

With a pair of tightly contested home wins and a game day bus trip to West Kelowna in the span of less than 48 hours, the Wild fell behind 2-0 by the midway point of the first period, the two Warrior goals coming :55 seconds apart. Shots were even at 10 a side but the 2-0 score held at the end of the period.

The Warriors made the most of a 5-on-3 power play with a goal at 3:23 for a 3-0 lead. It was only the second power play goal allowed in the last 48 penalty kills for the Wild. At 11:33 West Kelowna converted again on the man advantage to grow their lead to 4-0. The Wild had a solid 2-on-1 rush attempt that didn’t connect and West Kelowna quickly transitioned and buried their fifth goal of the night at 13:41. Wenatchee responded quickly as Parker Murray netted his second of the season in just his third game, the goal coming :26 seconds after the Warriors goal and assisted by Jack Ivey. The Wild went on a power play :13 seconds later and Quinn Emerson jammed home an unassisted power play goal to cut the Warrior lead to 5-2 where it stayed until the period ending horn.

With the Warriors shorthanded for the eighth time of the game early in the third, Wenatchee drew closer with a Parker Murray power play goal from the left circle, set up by Cade Littler and Ean Somoza at 2:58. West Kelowna, though, after allowing three unanswered goals, scored their third power play goal of the night to make it 6-3. Parker Murray went back to work for the Wild with an unassisted goal at 10:10 for the hat trick, bringing Wenatchee back to within two. That was as close as the Wild could get, and the Warriors closed it out with a shorthanded empty net goal in the final minute for a 7-4 final score. Andy Vlaha turned aside 20 of the 26 shots he faced in the game.

Wild Head Coach Chris Clark commented after the game, “I’m proud of how we refused to buckle and kept battling all the way through. We got ourselves in a pretty deep hole and it can be tough to dig out, especially on the road. We have a lot of three game weeks coming up and we have some things we can learn from.” Regarding the breakout performance of Parker Murray who now has 4 goals in three games, “He comes as advertised. He shoots it a ton and he’s fit right in with our guys very easily.”

The Wild (11-12-5) return home for a three-game series with the Penticton Vees (22-6-2) on Thursday (6p), Friday (7:05p), and Saturday (6p). Live radio coverage will be available on NewsRadio 560 KPQ with video available at bchltv.ca

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