The Wenatchee Wild followed Friday’s season opening win in Merritt with a 5-4 win on Saturday evening at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna over the Warriors, another Interior Division rival.
The Warriors were seeking their first win after dropping a 4-2 Opening Night loss to Vernon the night before. They got off to a quick start, with Brandon Dent scoring :45 seconds into the game after two strong saves by Wild goalie Daniel Chenard. Three minutes later the Warriors doubled their lead on a midpoint wrister from Spencer Hora that sailed into the top corner. Trailing 2-0, Wenatchee got on the board with 1:43 left in the opening period when Nick Cafarelli stole the puck in the right circle, walked to the net and lifted a backhander over the blocker side into the top corner for an unassisted score and the Wild trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The Wild drew even at 2-2 at the 8:04 mark of the second period. Defenseman Drake Usher held in an attempted zone clear at the left point and offered the puck toward the net. The puck found its way to Tyler Young who spun and flung it at the net from the left circle and it found its way across the line. Wenatchee got their first lead of the game when Drew Bavaro broke up a Warrior pass in the neutral zone that was scooped up by Nico Chmelevski. Chmelevski entered the Warrior zone on the right wing and left a drop pass for Brett Chorske that he whistled clean through the five-hole for a 3-2 Wild edge with 3:03 to go in the second. West Kelowna was able to tie it back up on a 3-on-1 break with Austin Chorney getting the goal.
Wenatchee took the lead again in the third at the 2:19 mark. Nick Cafarelli won the offensive draw in the left circle, and Julien Ménes took it to the slot where his backhand attempt was kicked away, but the rebound went right to Cafarelli at the left side of the net where he buried a backhander for a 4-3 lead. Wenatchee secured an insurance goal when a Tanner Main shot from the left point got through some net front traffic for a 5-3 advantage, which proved invaluable as Lucas Cullen pulled West Kelowna within a goal with 1:23 left. Daniel Chenard and the Wild held on for the 5-4 win with the Wild goalie turning aside 25 shots for his second win in as many nights.
Wenatchee (2-0-0) hosts Vernon (1-0-0) for Home Opening Weekend on Friday Sept. 13 and Saturday Sept. 14.