Wild Nearly Complete Comeback, Fall 4-2 to Tri-City Saturday
Photo credit: Russ Alman/Alman Media Group
WENATCHEE, Wash. – After building a two-goal lead to open Wednesday’s preseason debut at the Spokane Chiefs, the Wenatchee Wild weren’t about to let an early strike from the Tri-City Americans deter them in Saturday’s home debut at Town Toyota Center. The Wild fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but nearly completed the comeback before dropping a 4-2 decision in front of 1,637 fans in their first-ever home outing as a Western Hockey League club.
Tri-City’s top scorer from a year ago got right into action at the 12-second mark of the contest, as Lukas Dragicevic put one past Mason Beaupit to give the Americans the early 1-0 lead. Just before the halfway mark of the period, Andrew Fan picked up a loose puck rolling toward the low slot and snapped it in for a two-goal advantage, and Jordan Gavin found Deagan McMillan on the rush for a third goal with 4:06 to play in the period.
One game after going 3-for-5 on the power play, the Wild made their move on special teams again, cutting the lead to 3-1 with 2:12 left in the stanza. With Hayden Moore in the penalty box on a delay-of-game call, Zach Benson outraced the Americans into their zone before throwing on the brakes in front of goaltender Lukas Matecha. Matecha stopped the first point-blank chance, but Benson stuffed home the second to trim the lead to 3-1.
Benson factored heavily into the second Wenatchee goal as well – with a delayed penalty on, he found Rodzers Bukarts at the edge of the slot, and Bukarts snapped a wrist shot to the top corner of the net for a 3-2 score with 6:15 to play in the second period. That was as close as the Wild got, though, as Max Curran added a final tally for Tri-City 6:47 into the third.
The Wild out-shot their visitors 44-24, winning the margin in all three periods. Matecha made 42 saves to earn the win, while Beaupit took the loss with 20 saves. Benson led the Wenatchee offense with a goal and an assist, while Graham Sward picked up a couple of helpers. The teams combined to wipe away all six power plays in the game.
Wenatchee moves to 1-1 in preseason play ahead of a visit to the Everett Silvertips Sunday afternoon in the Silvertips’ annual Preseason Classic. The opening puck drop at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett is slated for 4 p.m.
The Wild return to home ice on Friday, September 22 to officially open their new era in the WHL against the Portland Winterhawks. The home opener is also the team’s “509 Night,” with commemorative tickets and magnet schedules for the first 1,000 fans in the door. Tickets for all Wenatchee Wild home regular-season contests are on sale now, and season tickets are still available by calling 509-888-7825 or 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.