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PHOTO: The Wild go through the handshake line after a 2-1 loss on Saturday afternoon. CREDIT: HockeyCanada.ca screenshot

by Arch Ecker

The Wenatchee Wild dominated the Wellington Dukes on Saturday afternoon at the Royal Bank Cup semifinal game in Chilliwack, BC, but the Dukes managed to eke out a 2-1 win despite being outshot 51-14, ending Wenatchee’s season.

In the opening period, the Wild peppered Dukes goalie Jonah Capriotti with 19 shots, and held the Dukes to just two shots, even with the Dukes getting the only power play of the period. The lone goal of the opening frame came on a desperate zone clear from Wellington that was chased down by Bryce Yetman on the left wing, and he angled toward the net, cut hard to his right and snapped the shot off the post and in for a 1-0 Dukes lead. The Wild continued to press in the middle frame, ringing shots off the crossbar and off the side of the post before Zak Galambos zipped a high shot blocker side across the grain at the 9:30 mark to tie the game at 1-1. A fantastic toe save by Austin Park on a shorthanded breakaway in the second period was a huge boost, but the game remained 1-1 into the third. The Dukes caught a break on a 2-on-1 rush when the crossing pass was mishandled but deflected through the five-hole to put Wellington ahead 2-1 with 13:04 left to play. A stuff-in attempt by the Wild made it to the line and slightly inside the post but did not fully cross the line on a potential game-tying effort. The Wild pushed and pressed but just couldn’t find the equalizer as Capriotti denied another 16 shots in the third, not to mention the several that were blocked, and several more fired high or wide.

The Wild season comes to a close but with a BCHL Championship and CJHL Pacific Region title as well. The process for building the 2018-19 edition of Wenatchee Wild hockey is already underway, and May camp is set for next weekend at the iFiber Rink in Wenatchee.