(PHOTO CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest)
The Wenatchee Wild (5-10-5) opened up a five game homestand on Thursday night with the first of a three-game set against the Merritt Centennials (1-17-1) at Town Toyota Center. It was the third meeting of the year between the clubs, splitting the two games played in Merritt earlier in December. The Wild came in riding a two-game win streak, while Merritt was winless in their prior four.
Wenatchee controlled the first period, dominating in puck possession, and shots on goal (13-5). The lone goal of the period came off the stick of Cade Littler with his 7th of the year, a high blocker side wrister from the high slot assisted by Mario Gasparini and Quinn Emerson. It was a 1-0 Wild lead after 20 minutes.
The Wild special teams have been on fire and that trend continued through the second period. 1:33 into the period and on a power play that had carried over from late in the first, Brasen Boser drove home a pass from Cade Stibbe and assisted by Brett Oberle for a power play goal and a 2-0 lead. Merritt responded quickly just under a minute to make it a 2-1 game, but the Wenatchee power play was called upon again and Mario Gasparini cashed it in with help from Ean Somoza and Cade Littler. The third Merritt penalty led to the third Wild power play goal, this one a laser off the stick of Landon Parker from the left circle for a 4-1 Wild lead. Wenatchee held an 18-4 shots advantage in the period.
Another Merritt penalty, another Wild power play goal in the third. At 4:52 Garrett Szydlowski snapped one home from the left circle assisted by Brett Oberle and Brasen Boser for a 5-1 lead. Owen Bohn joined the scoring barrage at 14:25 on a 2-on-1 break with Ean Somoza. The left-shooting Bohn was on his off-hand right wing, and fired the puck across the body of the goalie into the top corner on the far side to make it 6-1, the eventual final score. The game ended with Wenatchee going a perfect 4-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. The Wild outshot Merritt 45-15 on the night, with Tyler Shea earning the victory as the Wild win streak grew to three.
Enjoying Wenatchee’s first win on home ice, Wild Head Coach Chris Clark said, “Our guys played very hard tonight and were rewarded for it. We had a strong forecheck all night and our power play made the most of our opportunities.”
The Wild (6-10-5) return Friday night to Town Toyota Center for game 2 of the 3-game set with Merritt (1-18-1). Friday is our annual Teddy Bear Toss game, sponsored by Fred Meyer and Office Depot. Wild fans will toss stuffed animals to the ice when the Wild score their first goal. It’s also Daddy Daughter Night, and every daughter gets a free ticket when Dad buys one. Plus, it’s another Fathead Friday where oversized player headshots are proudly displayed by fans across the arena. One more thing: Santa will be there to spread cheer and help with a food drive. The weekend series ends on Saturday with Ugly Sweater Night sponsored by Dick’s Heating and Air. Fans will have a chance at part of a $500 cash prize! Our Giving Tree will be on the concourse all weekend to benefit people in our community who need a hand during the holidays. Live radio coverage will be available on NewsRadio 560 KPQ with video available at bchltv.ca
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