Wenatchee, WA – With the two best teams in the Northern Pacific Hockey League still standing, the #1 Wenatchee Wolves (3-0-0, 6 points) hosted the #2 Bellingham Blazers for the first game in the Cascade Cup Championship series. As the puck dropped to begin today’s game, it was a tightly contested battle between both teams. Neither the Wolves nor the Blazers were willing to give up an inch as the game remained scoreless through the first 20 minutes. Despite no goals being recorded in the first period, the Wolves did outshoot the Blazers, 9 – 2.
After a relatively quiet first period, both the Blazers and the Wolves were able to break their offensive silence in the second period. The Blazers scored first with a goal from Simeon Smith, which was about three minutes into the period. But the Wolves quickly responded with a goal of the team’s own. Richie Stickle scored about a minute after Smith’s goal, thus knotting the game at one. Then the Blazers’ forward – Justin Sullivan – scored to give his team the lead, again. As the period came to an end, the Blazers entered into the second intermission with a 2 – 1 lead.
The Wolves scored one goal during the third period to tie the game at two goals apiece. But as the final horn sounded, both teams remained deadlocked at two goals. This could mean only one thing, overtime. During overtime, the Wolves scored the game-winning goal when Jonathan Banovetz found Coleton Booth, who then found the back of the net. This goal pushed the Wolves over the Blazers; the final score was, 3 – 2.
Ryan McKelvie, the Wolves’ head coach, commented on tonight’s game. McKelvie said, “it was a hard fought game for both teams. It looks like this is going to be a really good series. We'll have to regroup and come out tomorrow ready to work and compete.”
Phil Carron, the Blazers’ assistant coach, shared his thoughts about tonight’s game. Carron stated, “I thought our effort was there, but we had a few too many mistakes that cost us the game. At times, the effort was there, which is good. But we need to play with 100 percent effort every single time and we didn’t do that tonight.”
That wraps up the first game in this best of five series. Tomorrow, the Wolves (4-0-0, 8 points) will host the Blazers (3-1-2, 8 points) one more time before the series heads to Bellingham, Washington, next weekend. Game time is scheduled for 2:30 pm (PST).
(WEN) Coleton Booth (F) – game-winning goal
(WEN) Bronson Moore (G) – two goals allowed, .913 save percentage, and the win.
After the conclusion of tomorrow’s game, tune in to the NPHL’s website for a full recap!
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