The Wenatchee Wild got on the board first but the Merritt
Centennials came back and pulled away to a 7-5 win on Friday night at Nicola
Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt, BC.
The first Wenatchee goal came on a 5-on-3 power play at 6:47
of the first period, with Brandon Koch
pounded a slapshot from the blue line, assisted by Ryan Wilson and Matt Gosiewski.
On the remaining 5-on-4 power play, Wenatchee struck again as Gosiewski nailed
the top glove side corner from the right circle at 7:58 for a 2-0 Wild lead. Less
than a minute later, Merritt sprung loose on a partial breakaway, initially
thwarted by Austin Park but the puck was jammed home by Rylan Van Unen, cutting
the Wild lead in half. Three minutes later, Mathieu Gosselin tied the game at 2
as he was left alone on the back door for a wide open finish. Wenatchee retook
the lead on another Matt Gosiewski
power play goal, a wrister from the high slot on the blocker side at 14:40, but
the Centennials tied it back up on a Brett Roloson one-timer of a feed from
behind the net, and the first period ended knotted at 3 goals apiece.
The Wild took their first penalty of the game in the opening
minute of the second period, and Merritt cashed in with a Brad Cocca goal at
1:12. The see-saw battle continued as Avery
Winslow buried his first Junior A goal at 6:57, following some solid
forecheck pressure from Lucas Sowder
and the game was tied at 4-4. Thirty seconds later, Matt Kopperud had Merritt
back on top, prompting a Wild goaltending change. Cal Sandquist came on in relief, but Kopperud would score his
second of the period at 14:45 and Merritt led 6-4 at the end of the second
In the final period, Merritt added to their lead as Nick
Granowicz banked a shot off Sandquist’s shoulder from below the goal line and it
was a 7-4 Centennial lead. Christophe
Tellier drilled home his second of the season following a nice zone entry
and chance from Nathan Iannone to
make it 7-5, but the Centennials killed off three late Wild power plays and
held on to hand Wenatchee their first loss of the season. The Wild outshot
Merritt, 35-28 overall.
Wenatchee (2-1-0) heads to West Kelowna (1-2-0) on Saturday.
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,
The Wenatchee Wild are the defending 2018 BCHL Fred Page Cup
and Doyle Cup Champions. Stay up to date with the team all summer long on
Facebook (facebook.com/wenatcheewildhockey), Twitter (@WenatcheeWild1), YouTube
(Wen Wild), Snapchat (wwildhockey), Instagram (Wenatchee_wild), and on the
team’s official website (wenatcheewildhockey.com).
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