Special Teams Lead Wild Back From 2-0 Deficit, But Tri-City Prevails Friday
Photo Courtesy: John Keller/Tri-City Americans
KENNEWICK, Wash. – The Tri-City Americans have been a tough team to tame on home ice during this Western Hockey League season, and just as tough to grab a win against in close games.
The Wenatchee Wild were on the brink of checking off both boxes in Friday’s U.S. Division battle at Toyota Center, using a strong special-teams showing to charge back from a two-goal deficit before seeing the Americans pick up a 3-2 victory, with the decisive goal coming on a power play in the final 30 seconds of overtime.
The first 20 minutes were virtually even, with both teams turning away a power play and the Americans holding a 10-8 advantage on shots. The lead went to Tri-City at 5:34 of the second period, after Jordan Gavin tossed the puck past Daniel Hauser off a faceoff in the Wenatchee zone. That goal would turn out to be the game’s only 5-on-5 tally– Parker Bell’s shot from the right wing sneaked past Hauser to put the Ams in front by two at 10:03 of the second period. However, the Wild picked up another late goal, as Miles Cooper jammed in a rebound on the power play with 90 seconds left on the second-period clock.
Wenatchee battled throughout the early minutes of the third period to tie the game, and succeeded on a penalty kill at the 9:27 mark – with Chase Bambrick in the box to serve an elbowing penalty, Kenta Isogai grabbed the puck at the top of the Wild zone and turned on the jets to race in and slide a backhand chance through Kyle Kelsey for the tying goal.
The Wild held possession of the puck for most of the overtime, with several faceoffs in front of the Tri-City net. The play flipped into the Wenatchee end of the rink with 38.6 seconds remaining, following a goaltender interference call to Isogai. Bell’s shot 12 seconds later took a long carom off the end boards to Hauser’s left, and Gavin found the rebound in time to toss it into the net for the overtime winner.
“It was a slow start, but a good finish. We picked up a point, but I thought there were certain areas where we could have been better,” said Wild coach Roy Sommer. “I didn’t think we shot the puck enough, but we had the puck the whole time (in overtime). We got a bad break on the game-winner, but we got a point in a hard building to get a point out of.”
Gavin had points on all three Tri-City goals, assisting on Bell’s power play marker, while Bell finished with a goal and an assist of his own. Lukas Dragicevic had two assists as well, as Kelsey made 32 saves to earn the win.
Hauser was up to the task for the Wild at the other end, stopping 26 of Tri-City’s 29 shots. Each team saw success on the power play, with the Wild going 1-for-4 and the Americans wrapping up the night at 2-for-5. The home team has earned the win in all three meetings between Tri-City and Wenatchee this season, though Friday’s game was the first of the three to go to overtime.
The Wild return to the ice Saturday at Spokane, as they meet up with the Chiefs for the first time ever in regular-season play. The opening puck drop at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., with live coverage on Newsradio 560 KPQ and WHL Live.
Wenatchee returns home Sunday, with a 4 p.m. contest against the Prince Albert Raiders – Sunday’s game is Mom & Son Night, presented by Keyhole Security, and the first of Wenatchee’s Fred Meyer Sunday Funday promotion. Tickets for that game and all home regular-season contests are on sale now at 509-888-7825, online here or by visiting the team office at Town Toyota Center. Updated news and information on Wild hockey are always available through the team’s website and on the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Wenatchee 0 1 1 0 – 2
Tri-City 0 2 0 1 – 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Arp Wen (tripping), 3:41; Bambrick Wen (cross checking), 13:37; Curran Tc (embellishment), 13:37; Freer Tc (hooking), 16:28.
2nd Period-1, Tri-City, Gavin 9 (Bocharov, Sloan), 5:34. 2, Tri-City, Bell 6 (Dragicevic, Gavin), 10:03 (PP). 3, Wenatchee, Cooper 6 (Prosofsky, Woo), 18:30 (PP). Penalties-Geekie Wen (boarding), 9:00; Fan Tc (kneeing), 10:12; Arp Wen (interference), 13:42; Cardona Tc (slashing), 16:43.
3rd Period-4, Wenatchee, Isogai 11 9:27 (SH). Penalties-Bambrick Wen (elbowing), 7:57; Cardona Tc (hooking), 15:03.
OT Period-5, Tri-City, Gavin 10 (Bell, Dragicevic), 4:33 (PP). Penalties-Isogai Wen (inter. on goaltender), 4:21.
Shots on Goal-Wenatchee 8-14-7-5-34. Tri-City 10-7-10-2-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Wenatchee 1 / 4; Tri-City 2 / 5.
Goalies-Wenatchee, Hauser 10-6-2-0 (29 shots-26 saves). Tri-City, Kelsey 5-4-0-1 (34 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Bryan Bourdon (45), Brody McGrath (73).
Linesmen-Michael Bean (148), Nathan Howes (90).