WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee Wild have been looking for one game where everything comes together, and one game that could start a climb up the British Columbia Hockey League’s Interior Conference standings.
It’s impossible to know the impact on the standings quite yet beyond Friday’s game at Town Toyota Center, but the Wild may have gotten the one they wanted against the Victoria Grizzlies.
Wenatchee roared to a 6-0 victory on Proud to Be An American Night in front of more than 2,500 fans, shutting out their visitors in their only matchup of the season and earning their biggest win in 11 months.
The game started slowly, with each team posting three shots on the net in the opening minutes without success. Wenatchee finally broke through near the midway mark of the first period, thanks to an early penalty to Luc Pelletier. At 8:32 of the first period, Jason Stefanek (Yorba Linda, Calif./Mount St. Charles Academy) tossed a shot past Oliver Auyeung-Ashton from atop the faceoff circles to open the scoring.
While the first-period goal merely opened the scoring, the second-period scoring opened the floodgates. Wenatchee enjoyed a 24-5 shots-on-goal advantage and a trio of goals in the second period, starting just 1:09 out of the intermission. Parker Murray (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Wenatchee Wild) pulled away from the defense for a breakaway and pounded a shot off of Auyeung-Ashton, but the rebound banked back out front for Luke Weilandt (Northbrook, Ill./Green Bay Gamblers) to put away for a 2-0 lead.
Ean Somoza (Simi Valley, Calif./Wenatchee Wild) and Wenatchee newcomer Micah Berger (Bethesda, Md./Sioux Falls Stampede) tag-teamed on the next two goals, pushing the lead to 4-0 by the end of the second. At the 5:43 mark, Somoza took a pass in the right-wing circle, and with Auyeung-Ashton out of his net, Somoza fed the puck to Berger in front of an open net for the quick toss-in. With 8:45 remaining in the second, Berger returned the favor with a backdoor pass to Somoza to put away and stretch the lead to four goals.
The Wild returned to the power play in the third period, adding two late goals to cap the scoring. Wenatchee needed just 44 seconds after a goaltender interference call against Pelletier before Somoza found another teammate for a weak-side play in Cade Littler (East Wenatchee, Wash./Wenatchee Wild). Littler let fly with a one-timer from the left-wing faceoff dot with 6:36 remaining, beating relief netminder Gus Holt for a 5-0 advantage.
Just two minutes later, Ben Picard (Oakland, Calif./San Jose Jr. Sharks 16U) threw a shot through the traffic that caught Holt by surprise, caroming off of his pads. Before Holt and his defenders were able to find the puck, Jackson Ebbott (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Salisbury School Prep) took care of the second chance for his first junior marker. Picard and Lucas Marshall (Orange County, Calif./Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U) both tallied their first junior points with assists on Ebbott’s goal.
Only a week after earning his first BCHL win, Owen Millward (Davis, Calif./Janesville Jets) earned his first shutout as a member of the Wild, turning away all 24 Victoria shots and moving to 2-5-1 on the season. Auyeung-Ashton took the loss with 18 saves, while Holt stepped into the relief role with 22 saves in a no-decision.
Somoza headlined the scoring effort with a goal and three assists. In all, five Wild players finished the night with multi-point showings.
Wenatchee finished the night with a 46-24 shots-on-goal advantage, coming up just two shots shy of their season-best 48 from last Friday’s overtime win over the Merritt Centennials. The special teams were nearly perfect as well, killing off all three Grizzlies power plays while racking up a 3-for-4 showing on the power play.
The three goals marked the best showing for the Wild on the man-advantage since posting a 4-for-4 mark in a 6-1 win over the Merritt Centennials on December 16, 2021. While Wenatchee earned a six-goal victory only 11 months ago, the six-goal shutout win would turn out to be Wenatchee’s largest since an 8-0 victory over Victoria on January 3, 2020.
Somoza headlined the scoring effort with a goal and three assists. In all, five Wild players finished the night with multi-point showings, including David Hejduk (Parker, Colo./Wenatchee Wild), who also closed the night with two assists.
The Wild are back on home ice Saturday night to face the West Kelowna Warriors on Military Appreciation Night presented by CMI Orchards, with a camouflage drawstring-bag giveaway to the first 1,000 fans inside Town Toyota Center. The opening puck drop is slated for 6 p.m., with live coverage on Newsradio 560 KPQ and live streaming on BCHL TV.
To purchase advance tickets to Saturday’s game or any upcoming Wenatchee home game, call 509-888-7825 or click here. Updated news and information on Wild hockey are always available online and through the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Victoria 0 0 0 – 0
Wenatchee 1 3 2 – 6
1st Period-1, Wenatchee, Stefanek 3 (Horn, Hejduk), 8:32 (PP). Penalties-Pelletier Vic (hooking), 7:16.
2nd Period-2, Wenatchee, Weilandt 6 (Murray, Somoza), 1:09. 3, Wenatchee, Berger 2 (Somoza, Murray), 5:43. 4, Wenatchee, Somoza 4 (Berger, Weilandt), 11:15. Penalties-Adamek Vic (interference), 3:31; Littler Wen (boarding), 11:25; Hejduk Wen (tripping), 15:47; Slavin Wen (tripping), 18:41.
3rd Period-5, Wenatchee, Littler 7 (Somoza, Hejduk), 13:24 (PP). 6, Wenatchee, Ebbott 1 (Picard, Marshall), 16:29 (PP). Penalties-Barnett Vic (interference), 7:52; Picard Wen (holding), 7:52; Pelletier Vic (goaltender interference), 12:40; Leibl Vic (tripping), 14:43; Gorton Vic (roughing), 16:41; Ebbott Wen (roughing), 16:41.
Shots on Goal-Victoria 8-5-11-24. Wenatchee 8-24-14-46.
Power Play Opportunities-Victoria 0 / 3; Wenatchee 3 / 4.
Goalies-Victoria, Auyeung-Ashton 5-4-1-0 (21 shots-18 saves); Holt 2-3-0-2 (25 shots-22 saves). Wenatchee, Millward 2-5-0-0 (24 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Jarrod Boman (104), Erik Freeman (105).
Linesmen-Kacey Walker (83).