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PHOTO: Coen Wood (19) and Spencer Stenholm (27) of the U16 Wenatchee Wilderness in action from Phoenix.
CREDIT: Design Cafe Photography

Following a weekend tournament in Dallas over the first weekend of December, the Wenatchee Wolves U18 AAA and Wenatchee Wilderness U16 AAA clubs traveled to Phoenix, AZ for a slate of midweek games.

The U18 Wolves split a pair of games on Tuesday, Dec. 8. They opened up with an 8-0 win over the AZ Jr. Sun Devils. Goaltender Brendan Bovey earned the shutout, while Ian Williams and Drake Flynn potted 2 goals each. Later that day, the Wolves dropped a tough 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. After falling 4-1 to the AZ Bobcats on Wednesday, the Wolves bounced back with a 9-1 win over the Sun Devils on Thursday, led by Flynn (4g) and Luke Faas (2g). Flynn now leads the team in points (9g-4a-13pts) in 9 games. Co-Head Coach of the Wolves Jordan McTaggart says, “If this is an indicator of what’s to come from Drake this year the staff is really excited.” Rylan Marcum is a point per game player with 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 games while consistently being one of the hardest workers on the team. Returning defenseman Evan Fritze leads the team in assists with 7. Kai Belliveau has had a strong start to the season and has already surpassed his point total from last season.

The  U16 Wilderness kicked off their week with a 4-0 win over the AZ Bobcats on Tuesday. The shutout was earned by replacement goalie Matt Caldwell, called up to fill in for Luke Neilson who was unavailable to play. Wednesday saw the Wilderness lose 4-1 to the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, but they rebounded nicely with a 9-0 win over the AZ Mission. Caldwell split time in net with Xaus Landry for the combined shutout. Highlights for the week included the performance of Spencer Stenholm who is from Arizona and scored three goals in three games playing against his old buddies. Loghan Weber played well and continued his streak of a point in every game so far. Will Somers showed off his work ethic and speed, earning two assists and proving very hard to play against. Cam Naccarato has been adjusting to his new forward position and was rewarded with his first goal of the season. Coaches also credited forward Grig Kaagan who put up three goals in three games and has started to take on a bigger role with the team.

Development Teams Director and Head Coach for both the Wolves and Wilderness Ryan McKelvie feels a sense of accomplishment from the trip. “The back-to-back trips to Dallas and Phoenix showed our staff a lot about our teams. We started the long trip making a lot of early season mistakes. As the trip progressed, we made a lot of progress on the ice and started playing much better and more consistent hockey. We won some games and lost some games, but, ultimately, our program is about development and we saw a lot of progress as the trip went on. Most importantly, both teams were very disciplined and competitive, while showing a lot of integrity with how they represented our program and played the game. It was a long week with a lot of hockey, but our players battled hard the entire trip and our teams seem to have good chemistry. If we keep working hard to create the culture we want to have, I believe both teams will have a lot of individual and team success this season.”

All four Wenatchee Development Teams are now home for the holidays and will return after the New Year.