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Published: Saturday, 15 Sep 2018  
By: Arch Ecker

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 period.

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, and more.

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 (, Twitter (@WenatcheeWild1), YouTube (Wen Wild), Snapchat (wwildhockey), Instagram (Wenatchee_wild), and on the team’s official website ( 

Author: Arch Ecker

* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Arch Ecker, and not necessarily the views of does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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