PHOTO: Josh Arnold (12) had a memorable night with 2 goals and a fight.
CREDIT: Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest
The Wenatchee Wild struck quickly and never looked back as they steamrolled to a 6-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials at Town Toyota Center on Saturday night.
The game night promotion was “Diapers and Undies Toss” Night, with fans prepared to toss the packaged items to the ice following the first Wild goal, to be collected for distribution through area charities. The fans didn’t need to wait long, as Matt Gosiewski ripped a shot home at 1:32 of the opening period, sending the donations sailing iceward. After a pause to remove the packages, play resumed and Wenatchee would double their lead with a delayed penalty in effect. Chad Sasaki delivered a high blocker side shot from the high slot and the Wild led 2-0 after one. Five minutes into the second period, at the tail end of a strong shift on the penalty kill, Josh Arnold pokechecked the puck away at the Wild blue line and sprinted in alone, burying the shorthanded breakaway high on the glove side from close range for a 3-0 Wild lead. Merritt was awarded a penalty shot midway through the period, but Nick Granowicz never got the shot off as he drove in at full speed and lost control. Brian Adams added to the Wild lead at 14:41 as he sharply put back the rebound of a Nathan Iannone attempt from the right circle. Merritt collected their only goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play as Brad Cocca snapped home a one-timer on the glove side, and Wenatchee took the 4-1 lead into the second intermission. Matt Dorsey buried a strong, blue-collar goal in the opening minute of the third, driving down the left wing, cutting hard across the top of the goal mouth and tucking a low, hard shot around the outstretched leg pad of goalie Austin Roden for a 5-1 lead. Patience wore thin down the stretch, and penalties piled up, mostly against Merritt. On a late power play, Josh Arnold scored a nifty goal, craftily going between the legs with his stick and snapping a low shot over the pad and under the blocker to make it 6-1. Arnold ended his highlight reel night with a short but solid scrap with Merritt’s Joey Berkopec with just over 2 minutes left to play. Through the course of the night, Wild goalie Austin Park was tested and came up with a number of huge stops that helped further energize his teammates.
Wenatchee (7-6-2) continues their five game homestand Wednesday when they face the Trail Smoke Eaters (7-6-2-1) at 6:00 pm inside Town Toyota Center. The game will be available for video streaming on HockeyTV and will be broadcast live on “News Radio 560 KPQ” with the Pregame Show airing at 5:45 pm.