The Wenatchee Wild opened their 2018-19 season on Friday
night on the road, and after falling behind 2-0 in the opening period, rallied
to claim a 5-3 win over the Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, BC.
The home crowd jumped to their feet only 1:45 into the game
when Connor Marritt swatted home a bouncing puck near the crease for a 1-0
Vernon lead. The Vipers looked to add to their lead when they had 1:14 of
5-on-3 power play time, but the stingy Wild penalty killers held them off. Back
at full strength, Josh Prokop put the Vipers up 2-0 when he wired a low shot on
the rush from the right circle at 15:21. The Wild carved into the Vernon lead
at 16:09 when Jacob Modry blasted a
slapshot from the top of the right circle to cap off a textbook zone entry on
the power play, set up crisply by Murphy
Stratton and Lucas Sowder.
Wenatchee picked up the pace in the second period, outshooting
the Vipers 13-9, and successfully killed off another Vernon power play to stay
close. With the Wild on a man-advantage late in the period, another snappy
passing sequence set up Christophe Fillion
for a game-tying goal, assisted by Jacques
Bouquot and Chad Sasaki. The
second period drew to a close with the game even at two goals apiece.
Just :45 into the final frame, Alex Swetlikoff drove down
the left wing into the Wild zone and flicked the puck into the crease as he was
being forced wide. The puck took a favorable home bounce off a pad and a stick and
snuck across the line for a 3-2 Viper lead. The Wild tied it up on a blue-collar,
gritty goal by Christophe Tellier
who refused to give up on a play and was able to poke the puck through the goalie’s
pads to tie the game at 3-3. Roughly two minutes later, Wild defenseman Ryan Wilson took a feed from Brandon Koch at the midpoint, and from
the left circle, dipped his shoulder and outlasted a Vernon defender before
ripping home what proved to be the game winning goal. Cristophe Fillion netted his second of the night two minutes later
for an insurance goal, assisted by Nathan
Iannone and Tellier. The Wild finished 3-for-4 on the power play and
3-for-3 on the penalty kill, outshooting the home team 36-24.
Wenatchee (1-0-0) travels to Surrey (0-1-0) on Saturday to
face the Eagles. The Wild Home Opener will be Friday October 12 against the
Nanaimo Clippers, and will feature the unveiling of the Championship Banners, a
Ring Ceremony, and more.
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