PHOTO: Tanner Main (21) carries the puck during Game 4 action Wednesday night in Vernon.
CREDIT: Roger Knox / Vernon Morning Star
When the Wenatchee Wild take the ice for Game 5 Friday night at Town Toyota Center, the mission is clear. It’s win, or go home. The Wild face elimination as they trail the Vernon Vipers 3 games to 1 in the best-of-seven series after a 6-4 loss in Game 4 on Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, BC.
Wenatchee opened the scoring as Quinn Emerson redirected a pass from Nico Chmelevski midway through the first period into the net for a 1-0 lead. Noah Lugli blasted home a laser from the midpoint, set up for the one-timer by Tanner Main. The Wild lead was trimmed to 2-1 as Connor Sleeth knocked home a rolling puck that had eyes at 17:19, and Wenatchee led 2-1 at the first break.
Vernon’s top line sprung to life in the second period, and would combine for 12 points before the final horn. Dawson Holt tied it up as he raced past a Wild defenseman on the left wing and buried a low shot to make 2-2. At 10:08, Cameron MacDonald crosschecked Blake Emerson off the puck and slid it to Holt who snuck it under the pads of Daniel Chenard to take a 3-2 lead. Late in the period, Holt swiped the puck off the boards in the Wild zone and wired it across to a MacDonald who finished it off and Vernon led 4-2.
The Vernon power play has been exceedingly effective (5-for-12 in the first three games) and when a Wild penalty was called in the early third, the Vipers were in a position to extend their lead. However, the Wild penalty killers came up with their second shorthanded goal of the series when Harrison Scott created a turnover with his tenacious forecheck, and he guided it sharply to Brian Adams coming down the right wing and the Vernon lead was trimmed to 4-3. Vernon regained their two-goal lead when a Wenatchee pass deflected off a Viper skate creating a 2-on-1 back the other way, which Holt saucered to MacDonald on the right wing who buried it at 8:50. Wenatchee pulled Chenard for the extra attacker late in the period, and with 59.5 seconds on the clock, scored to make it 5-4. Tyler Young tapped it across the line after Harrison Scott squeezed it through the goalie’s pads, swatting the rebound of a Drew Bavaro point shot. The Wild looked to catch lightning in a bottle once again, but the Vipers were able to find the empty net as Cameron MacDonald completed the hat trick, cinching a 6-4 Vernon win and a 3-1 series lead.
Game 5 is in Wenatchee on Friday March 6 at 7:05 pm. Tickets are on sale now. Fans can visit the Wild office or call 509-888-7825 to get their seats. There will also be $1 hot dogs, beer, and Pepsi products. In addition to Wild playoff tickets, group packages and Season Tickets are also available in the Wild office.